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Recommended Starting Databases: Business and Commerce
Business web sites
Corporate Information Sources
SEDAR (the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval): This database allows users to access public company and investment fund information in the public domain for Canadian publicly traded companies.
EDGAR (the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System): This database provides access to corporate information of American publicly traded companies. By law, these companies are required to submit financial information
Government of Canada Business Resources
Industry Canada: This Government of Canada-run website is a useful tool for basic rules and regulations of conducting business in Canada. It offers concise information on how to start your own business, do business overseas, protect intellectual property, find financing and research/development opportunities, and many other relevant topics.
Industry Canada Benchmarking Tool: Using this tool allows you to evaluate the potential profitability of an small to medium size industry or market in Canada. The benchmarking tool uses statistical data to estimate the operating costs for your new business and view financial performance averages in your industry. It also allows you to generate reports on various industries, with a thorough instruction manual.
Choosing and Defining Your Research Interests
o Select a topic that interests you and get a brief overview starting with general reference resources (encyclopedias, bibliographies, and dictionaries)
o Get a general understanding of special terminology, major concepts, prominent figures, and experts associated with your topic
o Select key words, concepts, and themes that frequently appear in your area of study
o From these selections, begin to form a thesis statement or research question
o For each of your keywords and concepts, try to think of synonyms that you could use to start searching the catalogue and databases
o Remember that online searching is often trial and error and may take some time to refine
Encyclopedias for Business Administration
Encyclopedia of Career Development: This resource compiles short articles on aspects of psychological, sociological, educational, counseling, organizational behavior, and human resource management perspectives in relation to career development. It Incorporates global, cultural, and international dimensions of careers and examines the social context of careers such as the contemporary work environment, emerging values in society, gender and ethnicity, social class, and work-family interface. It also explores the evolution of careers, including career stages, patterns, and transitions, as well as variations in the meaning of career success
The Encyclopedia of Management: Includes essays on 350 topics in management theories and applications, written by academics and business professionals who have first hand knowledge of the particular topic or essay they are contributing, and reviewed and edited by Dr. Marilyn M. Helms. Topics include aggregate planning, benchmarking, logistics, diversification strategy, non-traditional work arrangements, performance measurement, productivity measures, and supply chain management, among many others.
The Blackwell Encyclopedic Dictionary of Accounting: This resource acts as a collection of both definitions and explanations of the key concepts in accounting. It offers shorter definition entries and more complex writings on the most important issues in modern accounting.
Encyclopedia of Leadership: This award-winning encyclopedia covers all key aspects of leadership in business. Major themes include: Biographies, case studies, followers and followership, gender issues, leadership in different disciplines, leadership in different domains, leadership styles, personality characteristics, situational factors, and theories and concepts
Locating a practitioner journal
A practitioner journal primarily features content written by people who work (practice) in the field, rather than articles written by those who work in academic institutions like a university or college. To find a practitioner journal:
- Start at the Library home page
- Click Research Guides, select Business administration from the drop-down menu, and click the magnifying glass.
- Select one of the recommended databases for starting your research. In this case, try Business Source Complete.
- When you are off-campus, you will have to sign into the library proxy server using your Laurentian ID. When you sign in successfully, you will be redirected to your research destination.
- The Business Source Complete search page has a fairly overwhelming set of options, but let's start with a simple search for "decision making". That returns over 180,000 results--way too many! And the results are at the article level, not at the journal level. But you can narrow it down easily from here.
- On the left-hand side, there is a Refine results column. Under this, you can select the Source types of Trade publications and Magazines to tell the database that you do not want results from academic journals, newspapers, books. This leaves you with over 50,000 results--still a lot! But you can go further.
- At the top of the page, under your original search term, you will see an empty text box next to AND. You can add in a new search term here, such as "management" that will restrict the results to those articles that have both "decision making" and "management" to ensure that the results are in your field of interest (and not, say, "decision making by mice in mazes"). Launching a new search for "decision making" and "management" results in over 75,000 results because you've lost the "Refine results" filter you had previously set.
- Add the Trade publications and Magazines filters again. Now you're down to around 15,000 results. Still a lot, but you can scan the page counts and publication titles in the first few results to see if there's a journal that might be a good match. For example "Don't be a 'naked baby on a beach.' is published in Directors & Boards, which sounds promising, but is only one page long (p25-25), so probably isn't a good fit.
- However, you can still go further. Right now, the results are organized by Date newest (look at the top right side of the search results). Change this to Relevance to show you the articles in the order of relevance to your search terms, and things look better. Many of the top articles are now from "Harvard Business Review", and if you scan through a few of the articles, you will find that the authors are a mix of academics and of practitioners. So that's a potential practitioner journal for you... but you probably want to stand out from your peers and find a different (non-obvious!) one. It will take some time scanning through articles from other publications in that list, but eventually you'll find a couple with articles that have author bios consistently identifying more practitioners than academics, thus successfully identifying a practitioner journal.
One more thing you can do to make your life slightly easier for this assignment: you can also select the Limit to: Full text option in the Refine Results column to avoid having to wade through results for which we only have a citation. For real research, you want to see those citations because the library can almost always get you a copy of any article in just a few days through the RACER service, and you don't want to miss out on what might be the best article to support your research--but if this is just an assignment, you can skip that step for expedience.
Our Library Catalogue is the essential tool for finding Laurentian's books or e-books. You can also use the catalogue to search for journals and government publications.
You can search the catalogue by:
- Journal Title
- Call number
Note: Not all e-books are catalogued in our catalogue. We encourage you to search the sources below to access more e-books in the collection
Why Use Books?
- Books are extremely valuable resources when doing in-depth research on a topic! Authors have hundreds of pages to give detailed explanations and background information surrounding the various facets of your research interest.
- Using this kind of in-depth information will make it easier to form a research question or thesis statement (or even spark your inspiration)
- The bibliographies found in books are extensive, and will point you to other resources to add to your own resource list.
- Remember: scholars write journal articles under the assumption that you already have a relatively thorough understanding of the topic – this means that you will likely not find the foundational information needed for your topic in the beginning stages of your research process. In this sense, books become indispensable
Improving Your Writing
Learning to write in academia for business is extremely important as you advance through your university career. The online resources below will assist you in developing your ideas, structuring your essay, writing critically, and improving your writing style.
Properly citing your sources is an extremely valuable and necessary skill when completing your research. Below are a few resources to help you correctly format your bibliography in MLA style.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab remains a standard for students in completing bibliographies
Managing citations with Zotero
- Directly import references from article databases, the library catalogue, e-book collections, etc.
- Manage and organize your references.
- Create a bibliography.
- Share your references with others
- Add in-text citation and a bibliography directly into your assignment
To enable Zotero's Library Lookup service to find full-text documents licensed by Laurentian University, set Edit->Preferences->Advanced->General->Resolver to
Getting started with Zotero:
- Follow this Guide for Laurentian Users (Feb. 2021)
- Contact the librarian supporting your faculty.
- Sign up for library workshops when available.
- View Quick Start Guide (video) or Tutorials (videos)
- Consult one of Zotero's own User Guides, McMaster University's Quick Start Guide, or the Zotero Guide by Ontario Tech University