Library session: business programmes
What is an academic library for?
Most likely, you will come across the library when looking for:
You can use the QAHE Library: QA Higher Education.
Where to start?
The QAHE library portal page will show you the resources and services available from both Middlesex University and QAHE. This page is worth bookmarking.
Reading lists will guide you to the textbooks and articles your lecturers suggest you read to succeed. Each module has its own reading list.
A subject guide explains the business management-related electronic resources available to you from Middlesex University.
Not all books are textbooks. Many books advocate one point of view, often based on the research done by the author. You do not have to agree with every book you read. As you develop your own knowledge and experience, you will get better at reading critically other people’s views.
Google Books can be helpful if you do not know what books cover your topic of interest. Google Books searches inside many printed and electronic books; however, it is usually not allowed to show their full texts. Browsing some pages may be enough for your research. It may also give you an idea of what books to search for in the library catalogues.
Normally, a researcher uses experiments, observations, surveys and other established methods to develop solutions, form conclusions, propose new theories etc. Before publication, the results of this research are reviewed by other specialists in the same field of knowledge. This peer-review process adds credibility to the research.
Knowledge is constantly developing, therefore some research conclusions accepted as correct earlier may be regarded wrong at a later date after more rigorous research has been done. Or the society, economy etc. may change and what was true years ago is not correct anymore.
Scholarly (academic) publications
There are many thousands of scholarly journals. Your lecturers may also call them academic journals.
Publishers aggregate these publications into collections, which are normally called databases. You may also come across phrases like "academic databases", "university databases" and similar - these all mean the same thing: collections of research publications and other content relevant to students and researchers.
Google Scholar tips
Google Scholar only searches for scholarly publications (i.e. academic research). It does not include trade (i.e. industry) publications, market research, company information etc.
Search for transformational leadership. How many results did you get?
Now search for this phrase in quotation marks (“transformational leadership”) and search. How many results did you get? Why is there a difference in the number of results?
The phrases that you want the search to retrieve exactly as typed (e.g. “relationship marketing” or “corporate social responsibility”) can be placed in quotation marks to run a phrase search. Google Scholar will not run separate searches for each word; it will search only for the whole phrase inside the quotation marks. Most academic databases understand phrase searching too.
The [PDF] (or similar) link on the right side of the screen indicates that the article can be accessed for free. To access it, click on the link.
The Cited by link will show more recent publications that used the current article as a source and acknowledged it in the reference list. Adding the word "review" to your search may help you find publications providing a broad critical overview of the established research on a particular topic.
Market research, statistics and data
The subject of market research is the performance of specific products, companies, industries and markets (i.e. economies). There is no one tool capable of searching across the sources of market research, statistics and data simultaneously. Generic search engines like Google can find some free-to-use data; however, a lot of market research is behind a paywall. For this reason, your university subscribes to a number of databases and specialist electronic resources. Most of the time, they must be searched individually.
Please use the databases guide on how to access and search business databases.
For statistics on open access, please see this guide.
You may find it helpful to watch the following videos discussing some of the content explained above:
Example 1: SWOT analysis of Tesco
Example of searching on Business Source Complete
Reports on Tesco
Example 2. PESTLE analysis of the aviation industry in Canada
(a) Search for "airlines AND Canada". Limit your search to full text. Limit your publication date to the most recent articles. Specify the source type you are looking for, for example, SWOT analyses, and click on Update. The list shows all the industry reports mentioning airlines and Canada.
TIP: Reading about particular companies will help you understand the whole industry better.
(b) Search for ''Canada''. In the menu on the left, under Source Types, select Market Research Reports. Limit your publication date to the most recent articles.