Databases

What are university databases?

  • Databases are collections of publications: articles, reports, images etc.

  • Some specialise in scholarly publications, e.g. academic journal articles and conference papers. Others contain a variety of secondary data sources, e.g. market reports, statistics, newspaper and magazine articles etc.

Where are they and how to use them?

  • A full list of electronic resources.

  • How to access university databases. A short video about accessing university databases.

  • USearch is a tool which searches most university databases simultaneously. It can be used to find trade publications and scholarly articles. It is not effective for secondary data and market research publications (see below). See also USearch v. Google Scholar.

Business

Scholarly publications (academic research)

The most important databases for scholarly publications (e.g. academic journal articles and conference papers) are:
Emerald
Business Source Complete
ProQuest Complete.

Use Google Scholar and USearch to search across multiple databases simultaneously. See Google Scholar tips.

Secondary data and market research

There is no one tool capable of simultaneously searching multiple secondary data sources (statistics, reports etc.). Generic search engines like Google can find some free-to-use data. For paid-for/subscription data, use university databases and/or USearch.

UK-SPECIFIC

IBIS World - Detailed reports on UK industries. Search for the company, product or industry.

Fame - Financial Analysis Made Easy; data on all UK-registered businesses; allows searching by location, size and other properties.

Mintel - Hospitality and retail market reports for the UK and Ireland.

INTERNATIONAL

Statista - Statistics on various topics in graphic format.

Business Source Complete - Company and country profiles, industry reports and other types of secondary data publications.

Passport - Company and country profiles, industry reports, product outlook etc. When accessing it for the first time, create an account using your university email address. Video tutorial

Nexis - Full-text regional, national, and international news sources.

Financial Times - One of the top business daily newspapers in the world. When accessing it for the first time, create an account using your Ulster university email address.

See also the Business and Management: Library Databases guide

Computing

O'Reilly Learning - Over 500 full-text e-books covering computing, programming and IT.

Scholarly publications (academic research)

The most important databases for scholarly publications (e.g. academic journal articles and conference papers) are:
Science Direct
Scopus
IEEE Xplore.

Use Google Scholar and USearch to search across multiple databases simultaneously. See Google Scholar tips.

Secondary data

There is no one tool capable of simultaneously searching multiple secondary data sources (statistics, reports etc.). Generic search engines like Google can find some free-to-use data. For paid-for/subscription data, use university databases and/or USearch.

Statista - Statistics on various topics in graphic format.

Nexis - Full-text regional, national, and international news sources.

Refining your search results

Every database contains a lot of publications. The most effective way of searching databases is to use search terms, not sentences (search term = one thing, e.g. motivation, transformational leadership); then use facets (i.e. filters) which would allow you to narrow the results down.

For example, this is how we could identify country reports in the Business Source Ultimate database:

  1. Search for the country (e.g. Poland)

  2. Tick the Linked Full Text box

  3. Limit the Publication Date slider to the last few years (when looking for statistics and market research, you are likely to be interested in the most recent data)

  4. Select Country Reports in the Source Type facet.

Search techniques

Almost all academic databases require users to use the following search techniques, rather than doing a Google-style search:

  • Use search terms (e.g. important words or phases), not sentences or questions.

  • Combine search terms using search operators (AND, OR, NOT), e.g. sole trader AND legal obligations, rather than typing sentences (e.g. What are the legal obligations of a sole trader).

  • Use truncation (* = substitute for any number of characters) to broaden the scope of your search (e.g. searching for market* will return results with market, markets, marketing etc.).

  • Use phrase search (search for a phrase in speech marks, “…”) if searching for a stable expression, particularly specific terminology or spelling (e.g. searching for “social media marketing” will ignore any results where these three words are not together). Google understands phrase search technique too.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is an academic, multi-disciplinary database provided by Google. It is Open Access, meaning usernames and passwords are not required.

To improve the accessibility of articles, link Google Scholar to your university account. To do this, select the hamburger menu (top left corner) - select Settings - select Library Links - enter/select the Ulster University and University of Ulster - Save.