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Commerce Subject Guide: COMM 3401: Research Methods in Business

A guide to key databases, reference & web sources, and research & citation guides for Commerce.

Commerce 3401: Research Methods in Business

COMM 3401 Research Guide

Winter 2017

This is a brief guide to selected information sources available to assist you with your research in this course. 

Finding Information on your Topic and on Research Methodologies
Finding Articles for the Literature Review
Citing Sources Using APA Format


Information on your Topic and on Research Methodologies:

The library has books on business issues and each of the research methods most frequently used in business and the social sciences.  Search the library catalogue using relevant keywords (e.g. research methodology, focus groups, interviewing, etc.). For the most accurate results list, try entering terms in the Subject Field.


Reference books provide concise definitions, explanations, examples, related issues, recommended uses for methodologies, etc. For example:

Encyclopedia of Case Study Research. H 62 .E582 2010 (2 vols.) In Reference (Main floor). - Over 300 entries provide an overview of specific issues or topics in case study research.

Encyclopedia of Industrial & Organizational Psychology. HF 5548.8 .E 498 2007 (2 vols.) In Reference (Main floor). - Provides concise summaries of topics in I/O Psychology, further reading lists, etc.

The Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods. H 62 .L456 2004 (3 vols. ) In Reference (Main floor). - Close to 1,000 entries define, and in many cases describe in detail, a wide variety of quantitative and qualitative research methods and related topics. 


Finding Articles for the Literature Review:

Find articles by searching the library's article databases listed in the "A-Z List of Databases" on the library website. These are databases paid for by subscription so require your MtA username and password to access from off campus.

Recommended databases for academic research on business and related topics: 

ABI/INFORM, Canadian Business & Current Affairs (CBCA) and Business Source Premier.  (Note: These databases include non-academic sources as well, e.g. newspapers, magazines, etc. Searches can be limited to "scholarly", "academic", or "peer-reviewed".)

Other databases that may include research articles on your topic: PsycINFO, PsycArticles, ScienceDirect, Sage, Taylor & Francis, SocINDEX.  Some of these databases can be searched together. (Within a ProQuest or EBSCO database, you can select multiple databases to search by clicking on the "Databases" or "Choose Databases" tab.)

If you are having difficulty finding appropriate articles for an assignment, please make an appointment with the Commerce Librarian.



Use Boolean operators to focus searches:

Use "AND" to combine keywords (narrow the search) e.g. employees and benefits

Use "OR" to search for synonyms or variants of a term (broaden the search) e.g. stocks or shares

Use parentheses when using 2 or more Boolean operators, e.g. employees and (stocks or shares)

Use " " (quotation marks) for a phrase (2 or more words together in the same order) e.g. "stock options"

Use * (truncation symbol) to get the root word and all possible endings e.g. "organizational behavi*"

Use ? (wildcard symbol) to replace a character within a word that can vary e.g. organi?ational

Change the search field to be more specific e.g. keywords in Abstract rather than in full text, or use the Company Name field

Use subject terms where available (see in records found or by using the database thesaurus) to find articles specifically about the topic, and to search for concepts that have many keyword variants

Select methodology where possible: e.g. in PsycINFO: "empirical research". In ABI/INFORM: classification code 9130 for "experimental & theoretical treatment"

Use other limiters where relevant (e.g. NAICS code for type of industry (in BSP & ABI, or classification code for broad topic areas (ABI & PsycINFO)

Consider sorting results by date to see the most recent articles first.

Limit a search to only scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles where available.

Take note of other relevant search terms found while searching and modify searches as needed.

If there is no direct link to a pdf or html version of the article, click on the "Find @ MTA" link. This should provide access to the article even if it is available in another database. If the article is not found, you can request it using the Interlibrary loan form given at that point. NOTE: You must request a 4-digit PIN before submitting an ILL request.

If you find a citation for an article you would like to read (e.g. from the References list of another article), use Journal Finder (a QuickLink on the library website) to find the article. Enter the Journal title and select the database link that includes the date the article was published.


Citing Sources Using APA Format:

The library website links to information about citing sources in general (See "Research Help" tab).  Included there is a collection of tip sheets on how to cite specific types of sources using APA style:

See: Research Help: Cite Your Sources: APA Style Guides

The full APA Publication Manual is available in the library at: BF 76.7 .P83 REF. and at the Research Help Desk.


Need help? Librarians are available to help you at the Research Help Desk on the main floor of the library and at

For questions relating to research in Commerce courses you can also contact Anita Cannon, Commerce Librarian.