Research Guide for MBA 509

Communication in Professional Service Firms, Theory and application of written and oral communication for professional service firms

Databases – Articles: 

ABI/INFORM (ProQuest) - Provides coverage of hundreds of business related periodicals in fields including advertising, marketing, accounting, finance, etc. Journals and newspapers are full-text including the Wall Street Journal (1984-present). Individual journal coverage varies in start date, with continued coverage through the present. General coverage ranges from 1971 to the present. 

Academic OneFile (Gale)- Home to more than 10,000 manually indexed journals covering everything from STM to the humanities, as well as full-text New York Times content from 1995 to present. 

Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)- This is an excellent source of scholarly journals in all academic disciplines. More than 8,000 journals are indexed and full text is provided for more than 4500. Most are peer reviewed. Searchable cited references are provided for selected titles.

Accounting and Tax (ProQuest)- Search key accounting standards from FASB, GASB, and IASB along with top accounting literature. Standards content includes Original Pronouncements, Statements, Interpretations, Board Opinions, AICPA Interpretations, Current Text, EITF Abstracts and much more. International in scope, this product has in-depth coverage of accounting policies, state and national tax legislation, corporate taxation, as well as related accounting topics such as auditing, compensation, pension plans, and financial management. 

Business Source Premier (EBSCO)- Provides indexing and abstracts and full text for nearly 2,300 journals in business business, management, economics, finance, banking, and accounting. Full text backfiles as far back as January 1990.

Factiva- A database with access to full-text articles. This database provides information concerning businesses, companies, and industries. It covers both national and international news. You can enter your search terms and then narrow your results by source, company, subject, industry, region, and language. 

LexisNexis Academic- is a full-text database which provides full-text access to national & international news, business, legal, and reference information, including federal & state case law, company financials, state statistics, and accounting, auditing & tax information. Includes Hoover Handbooks Reports, Disclosure and Worldscope Reports, and the S& P Standard Corporate Descriptions. All of these reports provide strategic and financial information of publicly held corporations. Go to "Lexis Nexis", Click on "Business", Click on "company financial reports" and change to desirable source.


Publication Types

There are different types of periodicals, including journals, magazines and trade publications. For many assignments your instructor will specify the types of sources you should consult in your research. Use the definitions and descriptions listed below to identify the proper sources.



Trade & Professional Journals

Popular Magazines

Scholarly-Peer Reviewed/Academic Publications


Newspapers contain current news, editorials, feature articles, and advertising.
Funded through advertisements and subscriptions.

Trade journals are written for a specific audience and target a specific industry or type of trade/business. Contain industry and current issues for a particular profession. Do not contain original research because they are more focused on applying research to real-life situations. Partially funded through advertisements.

Popular magazines cover diverse topics for general audiences. Authors are not always listed. Contain photos and eye-catching graphics. Mainly funded through advertisements.

These publications report original research. Articles are considered authoritative because experts in the field review articles for accuracy. Articles include footnotes and/or a bibliography. Language is technical and includes discipline-related jargon. Scholarly sources may also be referred to as academic, peer-reviewed, or refereed. Funded through subscriptions—not advertisements.

Publication Frequency

Daily or weekly

Weekly, biweekly or monthly

Weekly or monthly

Quarterly or semiannually


To inform and provide current event awareness and general interest information.

To report on industry trends, new products or techniques useful to people in a profession, trade or business.

To inform and entertain.

To report on original research or experimentation to the scholarly world.


Articles written by staff writers and freelance journalists. Not peer reviewed

Articles written by staff writers or industry professionals. Not peer reviewed

Articles written by staff writers or journalists. Not peer reviewed

Articles written by scholars, researchers, and academics. Peer reviewed


General public

Professionals who have expertise in the subject

General public

Scholars, college students, experts, or specialists in the field.


Generally printed on newsprint in black ink

Usually glossy and larger in size (8.5" x 11").

Usually glossy, larger in size (8.5" x 11"), and have numerous illustrations.

Few illustrations, smaller in size (6" x 9"), thicker, and with a plain cover. Contain charts, tables, and graphs to support research findings.


Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Times, L.A. Times, The Economist

World Trade, CPA Technology Advisor, Beverage World, PC Market, CIO, Fast Company

Forbes, Fortune, Money, Business 2.0, Business News

Journal of Accounting Research Journal of Investing, Journal of Management, Business Communication Quarterly, Journal of Leadership, Organizational Studies



Sometimes biases or opinioned

Sometimes biased or opinioned



Good for finding current information or reports on events after they initially occurred.

Excellent for product, marketing, or industry research because they contain industry and market information.

Excellent starting points for academic paper topics.

Sources of original research, in-depth analysis of topics, statistical information, and academic book reviews.

Databases Containing This Type of Publication

ABI/INFORM (ProQuest), LexisNexis Academic, Factiva

ABI/INFORM (ProQuest), Business and Industry (RDS) (Gale),Factiva

ABI/INFORM (ProQuest), Business Source Premier (EBSCO),LexisNexis Academic,Factiva

Business Source Premier (EBSCO),ABI/INFORM (ProQuest)

Primary, Secondary, or Tertiary?

Secondary, except letters, diary entries, and interviews contained in newspapers are considered primary sources

Secondary, except interviews (legal proceedings, personal, telephone, e-mail) are considered primary sources.



Primary Sources: Sources that contain raw, original, uninterpreted, and unevaluated information. Examples: diaries, interviews, letters, original documents, patents, photographs, proceeding of meetings or conferences, market surveys, opinion polls, and works of literature.
Secondary Sources: Sources that digest, analyze, evaluate, and interpret the information contained within primary sources. They tend to be argumentative. Examples: biographies, commentaries, dissertations, indexes, abstracts, bibliographies, journal articles, and monographs.
Tertiary Sources: Sources that compile, analyze, and digest secondary sources. They tend to be factual. Examples: almanacs, encyclopedias, and fact books.

Search Strategies

Whether you are searching the Web or searching a library database, plan your "search strategy" to improve your search results. Follow these steps:


Choose appropriate search terms or keywords. Think about words and phrases that describe your topic. Make sure to include singular and plural forms, alternative words and different spellings. For instance, if you are researching the topic "Motivation of Employees", your keywords might include motivation, job satisfaction, employee attitude, incentive, employees,
human resource management, organizational leadership....


Group like keywords together (motivation OR incentives); then decide how groups of keywords are related (motivation AND job satisfaction ). Combine these keywords using Boolean "operators" to broaden or narrow your search.

AND - Finds documents containing two or more search terms
motivation AND employee

OR - Finds documents that contain any one of several search terms.
motivation OR incentives

AND NOT* - Excludes a search term

Example: motivation AND employees AND NOT sales
*Be careful because using NOT may discard useful as well as useless information.
Also, some databases do not require you to write AND before NOT and you can simply write NOT
motivation AND employees NOT sales


Use quotation marks (" ") when your phrase is three words or longer or when you want to force the system to search your terms as a phrase. If you put your words in quotation marks, the system will search for documents where the words appear exactly in that order. Phrase searching is an excellent way to search for a particular term, such as "no child left behind" or "electronic federal tax payment system."


*       "corporate social responsibility" — The system searches for documents where the words appear exactly in this order.

*       corporate social responsibility (without quotation marks) — The system treats the phrase as if the words were joined by AND (corporate AND social AND responsibility). The search finds any document in which corporate and social and responsibility appear within 200+ words of one another.


Truncation characters allow you to find documents containing several words with the same root. Example: Type educat* to find educator, educated, and education.

Wildcard characters are put in place of a single character in your search terms when more than one letter is likely to fit that space. Unlike truncation characters, you can use wildcard characters in the middle of words. Example: Type wom?n to find documents containing the words woman, women, and womyn.  Every database uses different symbols for its truncation and wildcards. Below are the symbols for various databases.

Search Engine


(replaces any single character)

Library Catalog



Business Source Premier (EBSCO)






LexisNexis Academic






If you get too many results, you will need to limit your search by adding more keywords or checking other ways that the database lets you limit results. Add more terms or use more specific words to narrow your search.

If you are not finding results, it is possible that you are not using the right keywords or terms. Search playfully, and when you find a really good article, open it up. At the beginning of the article you will find the subject terms used for that article. Use those terms in your searches to find similar articles.

Citing Resources

Once you find articles to use in your research paper, you are required to cite the source of work you quote, paraphrase, or summarize. It is important that you credit authors for their work and their writing.  There are several different styles for citing sources. Please consult with your instructors about their preferred style for your research paper.

One of my favorite tools for creating bibliographies and reference lists RefWorks, a Web-based citation manager program available to faculty, staff, and students. RefWorks allows users to create their own personal database by importing references from text files or online databases (ProQuest, EBSCO, etc.).

If this is your first time using RefWorks, you will need to sign up for an individual account by creating a personalized login name and password. An online RefWorks Tutorial ( and a RefWorks Quick Start guide ( are also available. In case you need more than RefWorks, below are links to recommended electronic information on citation guides.

 Citing Business Resources:

Citing Your Sources for Business Students ( by the Boston University Libraries
Citation Guide for HBS Students ( by Harvard Business School
Citing Online Sources Using APA
( by the University of Washington, Bothell and Cascadia Community College Campus Library
Citing Business Databases in APA Style (

by the University of North Carolina Greensboro

APA Sites:
APA Citation Style Examples (, by Owens Library, Northwest Missouri State University
Electronic Reference Formats, ( by the American Psychological Association (official APA site) Citing Online Sources, APA Style, by Kingwood College Library

MLA Sites:
MLA Citation Style Examples ( by Owens Library, Northwest Missouri State University

Please send questions and comments to

Leticia Camacho
Information Systems and Accounting Librarian
1521 Harold B. Lee Library
(801) 422-1970