Business Research 101

Vetting Your Sources

Can You Trust Everything You Read on The Internet?

Using sources from the Internet is quick and easy but Caveat Emptor: evaluate the resources you use.  Look at  "Is It True or False?"  to help you decide if a source is credible.

  • Investigate the Source
  • Find Trusted Coverage
  • Trace the Original Source for Context
  • Is the Image You See Accurate?

Be a Search Guru!

Wildcard Searching

Hint: Use the asterisk * after the root of a word to find word matches. See what the example of cardio* finds:

  • cardio
  • cardiology
  • cardiological
  • cardiopulmonary
  • cardiotocography
  • cardiorespiratory, etc.

Hint: Use asterisks carefully.  Example: hospital* will find hospitals and also hospitality, as in the restaurant & hotel industry.

Database Search Features

Library databases have special features to help you focus your search.  Your question might be "how often do patients fall down?"  While this search would find results on The Internet, it won't in a library databases UNLESS those words appear exactly as you typed them. 

Go to the library database = Business Source Complete.

Try this search first:



Then try this search:


You can see that the second search has fewer and more relevant results.  When you use the RIGHT SIDE options, that is called MetaData, which means information that describes other information.  When you select an option, such as Subject, Title or Abstract, you require that the keywords are in that part of the document description.  As you can see from these two examples, it makes the results more focused and relevant.

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.