Business Library Research Strategies & Techniques
Sample Search Strategy Search strategy is a systematic method or plan used to find the most relevant information about a topic.
Choose a topic • Topic: Pharmaceutical Industry Narrower topic: Competition in Pharmaceutical Industry Focused topic—examples: • Market share of drug companies • Pharmaceutical mergers & acquisitions • Marketing strategy of Pfizer vs. Merck
Search Concepts • Do not try to put too many concepts in a search, e.g., “Market share in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry.” • Instead, break the topic up into discrete concepts: • Pharmaceutical industry • Market shares • United States
Where to Search? • A Google search on the pharmaceutical industry returns over 6 million hits. • Is there a better way? • Try a good library database.
What is a Database? • A database is an organized collection of computer records. • Library databases could be bibliographic, statistical, financial, or textual.
Types of Library Databases? • A library catalog database is a searchable index of bibliographic records that describe items in a library collection, e.g, books. • A journal database describes and indexes articles in a particular group of journals and magazines, depending on the specific subject of the database. Very often, such an eresource contains the full-text of the articles.
Other Types of Databases Other common type of databases used in Business are statistical databases, financial databases, eBook databases, and textual databases such as for market research or investment reports.
Select an Appropriate Database • ABI/INFORM Complete (ProQuest) indexes more than 4,000 journals and magazines in business and management. • I-Share indexes millions of books, journals, and other materials in Lovejoy Library and 75 other Illinois libraries • Standard & Poor’s NetAdvantagecontains the financial reports of more than 10,000 public companies; private company information; industry surveys; and bond, stock, and mutual-fund reports. • IBISWorldincludes full-text industry research reports, with company profiles & market-share data on over 700 U.S. industries.
Database Search Techniques To demonstrate the breadth of search functions and techniques, let’s look at two types of library databases, the Online Catalog and the Journal Index Database.
Basic Search Functions Search by: • Title • Author • Keywords • Subject headings/Descriptors
Keyword Search • Searches for terms/words/names anywhere in the database record. • Not precise; may retrieve some irrelevant records. • Often a good way to begin searching.
Subject Search • Searches for precise words or phrases (controlled vocabulary) in the subject field of the record. • More precise tha keyword search, but you must know correct subject headings relevant for your topic, e.g., ABI/INFORM subject headings Library of Congress subject headings.
Limit a Search You may limit a search to a particular: • Language • Publication date or range of dates • Publicaton type (e.g., article, book review) • Journal • Peer-reviewed (scholarly) journals only
Truncation and Wildcard Symbols Convenient methods to expand searches for different variations of a term/name. Symbols are used to replace letters within a word: truncation: economi* = economic, economics, economists, economy wild card: wom?n = woman, women
Combining Search Terms & Phrases Using Boolean Operators Most online databases and search engines have an advanced-search interface that has built-in Boolean operators. For more detail, see:http://www.siue.edu/lovejoylibrary/services/instruction/pdf/Boolean_Operators_old_interface_1.10.pdf Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT • AND indicates that all terms must be in the search result. This narrows a search. Example: Economics AND Steel industry. • The OR operator will provide search results with either term—broadens the search. Example: Global warming OR Greenhouse effect. • The NOT operator excludes a term or phrase—narrows the search result. Example: Retailing NOT Grocery stores.
Search Results Sort or rank by date, relevance, title, author Mark selected records View or link to full-text if appropriate, using linking “Find Full-text” icons. Print, email, or download records
Utilizing the Results • An excellent way to keep track of books and articles consulted is to formulate a bibliography or reference list in RefWorks, a system for storing and organizing citations or bibliographic references. • Be sure to properly reference or cite the ideas and information obtained from the sources you consult. Examples of various citation styles are available on the Library website. RefWorks can also formulate references automatically according to a preferred style format.