Not all databases (electronic resources) are the same.
Academic research databases publish scholarly research in academic journal articles and conference papers.
Market research databases publish market analysis, data and statistics.
Some electronic resources specialise in industry-specific skills, e.g. IT training.
A full list of electronic resources provided by Ulster University.
See also Open access resources.
The following slides explain what sources and tools to use depending on what information you are looking for.
Business: market research
IBIS World - Market intelligence for over 400 UK industries.
Fame - Database of the top 120,000 UK companies. Allows users to view useful company snapshots & examine segments within particular sectors.
Statista - International statistics, market reports, company profiles in a graphs, charts, tables etc. To log in, use the off-campus access option.
Passport - International statistics, market reports and company profiles. When accessing it for the first time, you need to create a Passport account using your university email address. Video tutorial
Mintel - Market research for food and drink industries in the UK; also retail and leisure in Ireland.
Nexis - Full-text regional, national and international newspapers.
Financial Times - One of the top business daily newspapers in the world. When accessing it for the first time, you need to create a Financial Times account using your university email address.
ProQuest - Broad international coverage including economic conditions, international relations, social conditions energy resources.
MarketLine - International market research coverage on topics such as industry, company and country data. Accessible until July 2022.
Emerald - Management journals as well as business case studies
Business Source Complete - Scholarly and trade publications, and market research: SWOT analysis for companies, market reports for industries and countries. Apply the Source Type filter for search results.
Science Direct - Computing sciences covered within 1500+ full text electronic journals.
Scopus - A vast collection of academic articles, including computing sciences.
O'Reilly Learning - Over 500 full-text electronic books covering computing, programming and IT.
IEEE Xplore - Contents includes journal articles, conference papers and other computing related materials.
Google Scholar is an academic, multi-disciplinary database provided by Google. It is Open Access, meaning usernames and passwords are not required to access the database. However. not all articles within the database are open access.
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.
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.
Refining your search results
Databases contain lots of information and searches usually retrieve many results. You may wish to reduce the number of results by refining your search. You can do this in every database. They have different interfaces but the functionality and options are the same. Below is an example of how to refine search results in Business Source.
Enter your search terms. Think carefully about which words you use as this will affect the results you retrieve (synonyms, alternative spellings etc.).
On the search page, there will be limiting factors of which you can make use. We recommend restricting your search to full-text documents and altering the date range. Depending on the topic, you may also wish to refine the results to peer reviewed journals.
On the results page, you will see more options to limit your results. You may wish to further limit them by publication, geography or subject etc.
Remember, all databases will look different because they have different user interfaces, but they all have similar limiting factors you can use to restrict your search results. To explore this further, read the 'Help' sections within each database.