Business Research 101

Vetting Your Sources

Using Google is quick and easy but Caveat Emptor: evaluate the resources you use.
Apply the CRAP test:

  • Currency - Is the information current? Is it updated regularly?
  • Reliability - Is the source reputable? Is it accurate?
  • Authority - Who created the information? Why?
  • Purpose/Point of View - Is there a balance of perspectives? Is the information biased?

Be a Search Guru! With Tools!

Use an asterisk * to increase results.
cardio* = will search for all the following matches:
AND cardiology
AND cardiological
AND cardiopulmonary
AND cardiotocography
AND cardiorespiratory, etc.

Use asterisks (or truncation) judiciously as
hospital* will bring back both
hospitals as well as
hospitality (as in restaurants and hotels)

Be a Search Guru!

Try this search in Business Source Complete.

Beginner search:
how often patients fall down

Better search:
hospital patients AND fall

Best search:
FALLS (Accidents) Prevention
(in SUBJECT terms)
(in SUBJECT terms)

Building Your Business Research Toolkit

Experience and knowledge with these research tools will enhance your business skill set. Efficient use will benefit your academic and business career. Become a research ninja by using the following tips to find answers to the most common business research questions.

The following examples are from three commonly used library databases, with each having a different focus. Each database vendor has their own search platform which makes using the special features of the database worthwhile to obtain the best results.

Researching an Industry using First Research (Intellect)

First Research search result.

  1. Go to the database First Research (Intellect) 
  2. Scroll down and click on the First Research icon. 
  3. Click on the submit button to enter the database. 
  4. Try a search by keyword or a major company name.


Bad search: drinks
Better search: hot drinks
Best search: coffee shop

  1. The result page is an industry overview.
  2. The left side of the screen lists shortcuts to different features of the overview.


Example of First Research growth rating.



This example shows the growth rating for Coffee Shops:




Researching a Company using Hoover's

Hoover's search result.

  1. Go to the database Hoover's
  2. Search for MICROSOFT.
  3. Tip: Look for the PARENT company, and click.
  4. This page gives you a quick overview.
  5. The left side of the page has more detailed information: Competitors, Financial Data, Analyst Reports, SWOT, etc.

Finding an Article Using Business Source Premier

  1. Go to the database Business Source Complete.
  2. Search for: hospital patients.
  3. You get almost 20,000 results. Too many! Click "Refine Search."
  4. Search for: hospital patients AND fall.
  5. These results are closer: look at the left side of the screen and click on appropriate Thesaurus and Subject terms. Subject terms are the primary focus of the article.
  6. You can see that HOSPITALS is in the thesaurus and "FALLS (Accidents)" is a subject.
  7. Do a new search for FALLS (Accidents) Prevention (in SUBJECT terms) AND hospitals (in SUBJECT terms).

Use your skills! These databases contain articles: Business Source Complete, ProQuest Business and Factiva.