Library Research Guide
This is a brief guide to some of the resources available for research in this course, in particular for the group project on contemporary marketing issues. It also includes tips on how to search for, evaluate, and cite sources.
Thanks to an endowment specifically for marketing-related resources, the library has quite a large collection of books on general and specific marketing topics. Books can provide a good starting point for your research as they often give you an overview of the topic, explain the background or context for the issues, clarify key concepts, and identify important people or companies involved to investigate further.
Marketing books in the library are generally located on the 2nd floor book stacks with call numbers starting at HF 5400... Others may be found elsewhere depending on format, (e.g. Reference books on the main floor), or with related subjects. The most efficient way to find books on your topic is to use the Library Catalogue: Novanet, available from the library homepage.
LIBRARY CATALOGUE SEARCH TIPS:
Select "Novanet Advanced Search" from the library homepage. Change the search scope from "Everything" to "Novanet Catalogue". Your results will include books from other libraries in the Novanet consortium. You can limit the results to just Mount Allison books or request books from the other member libraries.
One way to start a search is with keywords, combining different concepts with "AND" to narrow the search:
e.g. marketing AND entertainment
Use "OR" to include more than one option for the same concept:
e.g. marketing AND (email OR e-mail) -- (NOTE: Use parentheses if combining 'AND' & 'OR' in the same search line, or use separate lines in the Advanced Search screen.)
To ensure that words are together in the same order, use quotation marks:
e.g. "corporate social responsibility"
Once you have found a good book on your topic, click on the title to see the "Details" where you'll see the subject headings applied. You can then click on the best subject heading to see more books on that subject. Keyword searches can also be limited to the subject field by changing "Any field" to "Subject". Select the "BROWSE" tab at the top of the screen to search for books with an exact subject heading.
Selected marketing-related subject headings:
Novanet allows you to search for many kinds of resources including articles. If you don't limit your search to the Catalogue, you will get a large number of results. See the "Tweak my Results" options on the left side of the screen to limit to articles, to broad topic categories, etc. However, there are several reasons why this may not be the best option for finding articles: 1) Only metadata is searched, not article fulltext; 2) Only a limited number of databases are searched, not all of the databases available to you, and not some of the most important databases; 3) Search options are more limited and crude compared to most databases, which means it takes more time and is more difficult to find the best articles for your purpose. More effective article searching is possible by searching the best subscription databases for your topic.
Select the "A-Z List of Databases" from the library homepage to start. Then select a database by name (click on alphabetical link), or by subject area covered (e.g. Commerce) or type of article needed (e.g. News). There are many different kinds of articles and sources included in these databases, from peer-reviewed, academic journals to blogs. Note that the group project assignment requires the use of a variety of sources.
e.g. Journal of Marketing, Journal of Consumer Research, Marketing Theory, Journal of Advertising Research, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Supply Chain Management, Journal of Marketing Theory & Practice, Journal of Strategic Marketing, Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, etc.
The purpose of academic journal articles is to advance the state of knowledge in the field. The highest level academic journals are peer-reviewed. These journals publish articles only after subject experts have examined and approved the manuscript. Articles in these journals cover original empirical research, or other substantial original content based on theory or analysis, and generally follow a standard format starting with an abstract and literature review, and ending with a list of sources cited. Other academic business journals (e.g. Harvard Business Review, Journal of Advertising Research) may not follow such stringent guidelines or formats. Academic articles should generally form the core of your sources, providing research-based findings or informed analyses of the topic rather than opinion, anecdotes or sales pitches.
Recommended databases for academic journal articles:
ABI/INFORM Collection and Canadian Business & Current Affairs (CBCA) (both in ProQuest Central)
- Search Tip: Enter search terms, then limit results by "Source Type": Scholarly. ABI includes Classification Code search option: Use these to limit by a broad topical area, management function, organizational type, etc. that may be hard to capture adequately in one subject term, e.g. Code: 7000 = Marketing or by type of article, e.g. Code 9130 for articles based on experiment or theoretical treatment of the topic. Within a PQ database, select "Change databases" to confirm selection of databases searched or to select others.
Business Source Premier - Search Tip: Limit to Source type: "Academic Journals"
- BSP can be searched together with other EBSCO databases if appropriate (e.g. sociology and psychology databases SocINDEX and PsycInfo). Click on "Choose databases" tab and select databases to search together.
e.g. Advertising Age, Strategy Magazine, Marketing Insights, Ad Week, Chain Store Age, etc.
These are usually published by a professional organization or industry association and are intended for its members and others who work in that field. They may include some scholarly articles but generally articles are written by practitioners; sources may not be cited, articles may not be based on research, but generally reflect first-hand knowledge and practice in the field.
Business Source Premier, ABI/INFORM & CBCA (ProQuest Central), Nexis Uni
e.g. Maclean's, The Economist, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, etc.
These magazines are geared to the general public. They may be general news magazines or focused on a specialized audience based on interest in the subject matter. Articles are usually written by staff writers, tend to be brief, with a mix of reporting and opinion, written to inform and/or entertain.
Business Source Premier and CBCA (ProQuest Central)
Sources for news articles include national or regional daily papers (e.g. Globe & Mail, Moncton Times & Transcript), business newspapers (eg. Financial Times, Wall Street Journal), radio and television broadcasts, newswires, blogs and other alternative news media.
Canadian Newsstream (ProQuest Central) Has major Canadian dailies and smaller regional papers. (Other ProQuest news databases include U.S. and international sources. Search PQ news databases together by selecting "Change Databases", then "View by Subject", and "Search News and Newspaper Subject area".)
CBCA (ProQuest Central) Has some news sources including TV news transcripts.
Nexis Uni (especially for U.S. and international news. Select "Advanced Search" -- "Select a specific content type" -- "News". Enter keywords and limits as directed. Click on "Add" and "Search").
NOTE: Mainstream media, with trained investigative journalists, editors, and fact checkers attempt to provide unbiased, objective, and factual reporting. Some reputable examples: CBC in Canada, The Guardian and BBC in the U.K, New York Times and The Washington Post in the U.S. Others, like most of the daily newspapers in Canada, tend to reflect the biases of their owners and funders in much of the content published (and stories excluded). Note that most news sources also include opinion pieces and other content besides news (e.g. columnists' articles, commentaries, editorials, letters to the editor, article marketing pieces, reprinted company press releases, etc.) Learn to distinguish opinion from reporting, and read critically.
Corporate and industry "news" articles include press releases, news releases, newswires, articles, announcements, opinion pieces and blogs by CEOs, consultants, industry association representatives, etc. Real news may include notification of "material changes" or a significant event that can affect a public company's stock price, but for the most part, communications from companies and industry associations tend to have a public relations or promotional/marketing purpose.
Nexis Uni, ABI/INFORM (ProQuest Central), Business Source Premier
These can include detailed descriptions, list of top competitors, SWOT analysis, financial information, etc. Find in Business Source Premier (use "Company Profiles" tab, or Publication type: "Industry Profile"), in ProQuest Central (limit by Document type: "Company Profile" or "Industry Report"), and in Nexis Uni (Select "Company Info").
GENERAL ARTICLE SEARCH TIPS (apply in most databases):
Use "AND" to combine keywords (narrow the search) e.g. marketing AND athletes
Use "OR" to search for synonyms or variants of a term (broaden the search) e.g. walmart OR wal-mart
Use " " (double quotation marks) for a phrase (2 or more words together in the same order) e.g. "search engine optimization"
Use * (truncation symbol) to get the root word and all possible endings) e.g. blog* (retrieves blog, blogs, bloggers, blogging, etc.)
Change the search field to be more specific e.g. keywords in Abstract, rather than in full text (esp.for academic journal articles)
For articles about a specific company or product, use the company name, or product fields, where available (e.g. ABI/INFORM & Business Source Premier)
Use controlled vocabulary subject terms where available (see in records found or by using the database thesaurus).
DO NOT limit results to Full Text documents only! Where the full text of an article indexed by ABI/INFORM or Business Source Premier is not available directly, there will be a link provided to the full text if it is in another databases subscribed to by the library. Click on the "Find @ MTA" link to see the full text article.
Evaluate the articles found using the metadata provided: Read the abstract and article details before reading the article. Note the terms used in the abstract, the subject terms assigned, and other clues about how to make your next searches more precise.
Journal Finder: If you have identified an important article from a reference in a book or other article, you can quickly find out if it is accessible by entering the journal title into Journal Finder (3rd Quick Link on the Library homepage.) If links are provided, select the one that includes the issue you need. Some "open access" articles may be found by googling. If an article you need is not available, you can submit an Interlibrary Loan request. Articles are usually emailed to you within 2 days.
There are many specialized reference sources for marketing-related research. The latest editions of the print examples are found on the main floor of the library in the Reference section (REF). Others are listed in the Commerce Subject guide under "Recommended Websites" and "Reference Sources".
Business Rankings Annual. HG 4050 .B88 (2 vols.) REF
Provides top 10 lists of US and worldwide companies, products, services and activities compiled from a variety of published sources. Indexed by company, product name, country and industry code. Check the source given for updated information.
CMF Trends Reports. Annual reports by the Canada Media Fund include the latest statistics on media usage in Canada. The website also includes related research reports and articles on social media, marketing, etc.
International Dictionary of Marketing. By David Yadin. HF 5415 .Y33 REF
Includes terms and definitions specific to marketing. e.g. "psychological pricing".
Market Share Reporter. (Available from the A-Z List of Databases.)
An annual compilation of market share data reported on companies, products and services. Check the source given for updated information.
Statista. (Available from the A-Z List of Databases.)
A database of statistics and related information. Includes a large component of recent global industry and consumer statistics, trends, and market research. Links to the source publication or website are often available for more information.
Statistics Canada. Canada's official statistical agency. The website includes data, infographics, and analytical articles on socio-economic and industry-related issues.
Look for the same information you need to cite a source to help you judge its appropriateness for use.
Author: Who is the author or authoring organization? Some information about the author should be provided (credentials, expertise, affiliation, etc.) or an "About" link for information on the organization. If no author is given, look at who is hosting the publication or the site as a whole. (See "Publication / Source Title" below.)
Date: Look for the date the content was created or last updated (may differ from the website’s date).
Article Title: Google searches can lead you to sections within documents or bits of text that are taken out of context. If there is no title, look for links back to the homepage, or back through the URL's path to find the document title or context for the information.
Publication / Source Title: The source in which the information is "published" is an important indicator of the likely reliability of the information. Government bodies like Statistics Canada, or IGOs like the UN, are mandated to collect certain kinds of information and follow stringent quality guidelines. The best academic publications have strict guidelines on how research findings and analyses can be presented, following academic standards for evidence-based, objective and balanced writing. Major publishers, research institutes, and other organizations who have reputations to uphold, generally strive to publish information in objective and balanced ways. Many non-profit organizations describe their mandate as being research and public education, but if they get the majority of their funding from major corporations or a particular lobby group, the content may be slanted or biased. (If in doubt, check the organization's mandate, "About" page, list of publications, etc. to get an idea of their biases or intent. Google the organization name to see how others, especially investigative journalists, have described it, or look it up in SourceWatch.) Industry and professional associations are paid to represent their industries and members, and publish information to win over support for their practices or products. The information that corporations make public (annual reports, press releases, etc.) will all present the corporation in the best light. Even public companies' financial reports, despite being required by law to contain certain information, can still be misleading. Business analysts, columnists, commentators and others who contribute informational "content" in a variety of sources may be marketing their services rather than providing unbiased, factual information. Although it is often not clearly identified as such, commercial information makes up the majority of the information you are likely to find using an Internet search engine. Knowing about the source of the information should help you determine whether it is appropriate for your purposes. Reading widely, getting different perspectives on your topic, will help you to understand it better and ultimately improve your paper.
These details about the information (author, date, article or webpage title, publication or website name, etc.) are important for finding the source again and for citing it correctly if you decide to use it. Note as many of these details as you can find when saving or downloading any content. If key pieces are missing it is unlikely the source will be a reliable or appropriate source for an assignment.
Reading the content critically is also necessary to decide whether the information is reliable and appropriate for use. For more details on critically evaluating content, see the MTA guide: Evaluating Web Sources.
Citing sources used is a cornerstone of academic work. It shows your audience that you are basing your work on good information, and allows them to find the same sources you used.
The library website's "Research Help" page links to a collection of tip sheets on writing, research, and citing sources, including a page with several guides for using the APA citation format suggested for this course. A 2-pg MTA tip sheet is also available at the Research Help Desk.
Need help? Research Librarians are available to help you in the library at the Research Help Desk, by phone, chat and email at email@example.com most days, some evenings, and Sunday afternoons. Hours are posted on the library website.
For assistance with research relating to Commerce assignments in particular, please contact Anita Cannon, Commerce Librarian.