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Research Process: An Overview: Finding Information

This guide outlines the steps in the research process from developing a topic to crediting sources.

Choosing the Right Database

Selecting a Database

The Business Library subscribes to many databases that will be useful for your research. The type of research you are doing and the questions you need answered will help you determine which database to use.  If you already know the name of the database you want to use go to the library's alphabetical database list. You can also browse the library's database list by subject to see what areas are covered by each database.

Information Sources

Types of Information Sources

There are many different types of information sources that can be useful for your research.  The chart below lists some common information sources with examples of each to help you evaluate and select the best sources for your project. 

Newspapers Typically content revolves around current events. The focus is geared toward the general public with articles written by journalists or freelance reporters

The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times

General Interest Magazines Magazines usually cover current events and general interest subjects. Articles from magazines can help you generate ideas about issues, controversies, or unanswered questions about a topic, which you might want to explore further. They sometimes refer to studies or scholarly work that you can track down for more information. Time, Newsweek, Psychology Today, The Economist, Scientific American
Trade Publications Trade publications are written by and for professionals within an industry. These are an excellent source of very specific information from inside the field. Advertising Age, Marketing Week, Nation's Restaurant News, Investment Weekly
Scholarly Journals Scholarly journal articles go through a process of peer review before they are published. They are written by experts in the field and their purpose is to advance the ongoing body of work within the discipline. These articles might present original research data and findings, or take a position on a key question within the field. They can be difficult to read, because their intended audience is other experts and academics, but they are at the top of the line when it comes to authoritative information. Harvard Business Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Review
Books & eBooks Books cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction. For research purposes, you will probably be looking for books that synthesize all the information on one topic to support a particular argument or thesis. Books usually provide in-depth and/or historical analysis of a subject. Print books in the library, eBooks from library databases
Subscription Databases Subscription databases provide a variety of information on many subjects. Some of the information you can obtain from databases includes: news and journal articles, datasets, analyst reports, dissertations and company financial data.   Business Source Complete, Morningstar
Websites, Internet The focus, content and authors of websites vary widely according to each individual site. Always evaluate website information carefully. Government, company, consumer, university, non-profit organization, etc., websites, Wikipedia
Miscellaneous Documents Documents is a broad category and can be found in a variety of places including the library, internet and databases that cover white papers, working papers, newsletters, etc. Documents may contain industry information, statistics, as well as potential insider information. White papers, working papers, newsletters, dissertations, analyst reports, conference proceedings, etc...