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A current awareness resource for students & faculty members in Business & Economics

Ingredients for successful taste tests + other primary market research

Published by Mark Bodnar
Simple line drawing of a smiling heart with a fork and a knife above it.
One of this fall's BUS 345 sections is going to be conducting some taste test experiments as they learn about primary market research. As is often the case, I see their assignment as an opportunity to highlight some powerful research resources available for all SFU researchers while also helping the BUS 345 students.

If you're in BUS 345 and doing a taste test assignment, start here for time-saving tips. If, on the other hand, you are doing any other sort of primary market research, still start here because there's a good chance these tips apply to your work as well!

<Read on for many time-saving tips!!>

CFA and beyond: resources on finance & investing

Published by Mark Bodnar
Logo of the CFA Institute
Having a solid understanding of how both finance and investments work is useful for students in all areas of business & economics, not just those who pursue a finance concentration. Many SFU finance students opt to become Chartered Financial Analysts via the CFA Institute, but that's likely overkill for most non-finance students: becoming a CFA Charterholder involves completing (and paying for) a comprehensive series of exams on all aspects of the modern investment industry.

Fortunately, there's now an à la carte way to acquire some of the foundational CFA knowledge — with no cost to SFU people (but also no official certification at the end). We own ebook copies of many recent CFA books & workbooks, so you can read and practice what and when you want.

<Read on for details on our new CFA ebooks and much more!>

Highlights from Sage Business Cases: express & raw!

Published by Mark Bodnar

Sage Business Cases slogan: Discover the real world of business for best practices and professional success.
An increasing number of Beedie instructors are incorporating case studies from Sage Business Cases (SBC) into their courses. With a diverse collection of 5500+ cases covering all aspects of business, SBC has a case to fit almost every classroom need. And I truly do mean diverse — Sage's cases are published by partners around the world, and Sage fills in gaps by commissioning cases on undertreated perspectives and issues.

Much of that should be old news to many Buzz readers, but it's good background for another aspect of Sage's diversity that I want to talk about today: diversity of case depth and form. At first glance, all cases sort of look the same: a statement about learning outcomes, several pages of narrative text with videos or data tables embedded where relevant, then some probing discussion questions. However, some of the case types within SBC take a different approach. Let me illustrate with two very different examples: Express Cases and Yale Raw Cases...

<Read on for details!

Don't reinvent the wheel: start with these sources when creating a new survey!

Published by Mark Bodnar
Simple line drawing of a clipboard with a question mark and some check marks.
Creating a survey sounds super easy at first: you just pepper your respondent with questions about the things you want to know... Do you like my product/recycling/the colour blue?

Sadly, as with so many things in research, the simple approach is, well, overly simplistic. You need to be certain all of your questions are unambiguous — likely to be interpreted accurately and consistently each time and by each respondent — and that they yield exactly the information you need. Coming up with a well-formed question takes more time and expertise than you'd expect!

Wouldn't it be great if there was a source listing hundreds of questions that have been asked in prior academic marketing studies? One where you could look up a subject and find questions that have been used in studies published in top marketing journals. And, since we're dreaming, wouldn't it be even better if the description of each question included comments on its reliability and validity, details on earlier studies that used versions of the same question, and a citation for a recent article in which the question is mentioned?

Well, welcome to the SFU Library, where (some) dreams come true!

<Read on for sources & search tricks!>

Mákook pi Sélim: Indigenous stories, trends, issues and successes in business

Published by Mark Bodnar
Screen capture of the cover of the June 2023 issue of Mákook pi Sélim
Just in time for National Indigenous Peoples Day, Business in Vancouver has published its 5th semi-annual issue of Mákook pi Sélim. 

"[E]ntirely written by Indigenous journalists, writers and columnists," Mákook pi Sélim "is a dedicated space to highlight Indigenous stories, trends, issues and successes in business."


<Read on to learn more about this BiV magazine, our super-detailed Indigenous Business research guide, and a new ebook edition of "21 things you may not know about the Indian Act"...>

Identifying megatrends when a big-picture perspective is required

Published by Mark Bodnar
Simple line drawing of a bar + line chart with a question mark above it.
I've mentioned in past posts that you can't really do much in business without paying attention to the news. The world is changing constantly, so in addition to researching what is already known, it's important to also seek answers to such forward-looking questions as... 

"What's changing today that might affect industry X, market Y, and consumer-type Z?"


"Can I draw inferences about the effects of those changes on my organization, so I can prepare ahead of time (and perhaps ahead of others)?"

I truly believe there is no substitute for regularly reading general, business, and industry news to spot any clues that might help answer such questions. There are, however, shortcuts that can highlight "big picture" changes happening across society and help you understand their potential implications...

<Read on to discover megatrend reports, ebooks, articles...!>

On meal kits and primary market research...

Published by Mark Bodnar

Line drawing of a bowl with chopsticks
Our intrepid BUS 345 students are embarking on a primary market research project focused on meal kits this term, so I thought I'd repost (with updates) a mini-guide I created to support a similar assignment a couple years ago. Even if you aren't in BUS 345, this post might give you a sense of the secondary resources available to establish the context for efficient & effective primary market research.

The students have a huge amount of flexibility when it comes to choosing the research questions they want to explore, so it would be difficult to suggest specific resources and search strategies for them. Instead, I thought I'd try a different approach:

Simple line drawing of two people with a light bulb above them to indicate creative ideas
I'll highlight just a few of the possible research questions to give you a sense of the range of research that goes into marketing (section A below). I'll aim to demonstrate the amount of lateral/creative thinking that a market researcher has to do, but my list won't be anywhere near as detailed as that of a real marketer.

Then I'll list the guides and blog posts that cover the sorts of resources I'd normally use to answer such questions (section B).

Finally, I'll return to the target product and talk about research resources that are specifically about meal kits (section C).

Here we go...   <Read on!>

Learn about financial markets... and earn a certificate! BMC is now online at SFU

Published by Mark Bodnar
Bloomberg Market Concepts certificate
Is it possible to excel in any area of business or economics without a basic understanding of financial markets... of how bonds, equities, and currencies are valued, and of how those values are affected by changes in major economic indicators such as GDP? I'd argue it is not.

I'm not saying someone focused on, for example, human resource management needs to be an expert in all the esoteric inner workings of finance, just that an awareness of the jargon and the underlying structure of financial markets will undoubtedly be useful and even required at some point.

And if you need to learn such things anyhow, why not get a certification you can proudly list in your CV and your LinkedIn profile? All SFU students can now complete the Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) certification program online with no charge!

<Read on for details!>

New research starting point: Management section in Oxford Bibliographies Online

Published by Mark Bodnar
Logo of Oxford Bibliographies Online with the tagline:
When I'm starting to research a topic that is new to me, I usually hope to quickly get a sense of the topic overall, answering such questions as...
  • How is the field of research structured? What are the major subtopics and how do they interrelate?
  • What have we learned so far, and what are the gaps in our knowledge on the topic?
  • What are the major articles and books about the topic — the ones that confirmed long-suspected theories or broke new ground and that now serve as the foundations upon which new research is building?
  • What are the key journals and who are the key people? That is, where should I start searching for newer information on the topic? 
These are, of course, easy questions to ask, but they are often much harder to answer!

<Read on to learn about a new solution to such simple-but-complex needs!>

Making of the Modern World (Part IV): Deep coverage of the "Age of Capital"!

Published by Mark Bodnar
I'm pleased to report that SFU researchers now have access to Part IV of the Making of the Modern World online resource. We already owned the first three parts, covering 1450-1945. This new module expands and deepens the content available from the 1800-1890 period.
Banner image from the Making of the Modern World resource. Shows a man using a Morse code machine at a desk with various
​ <Read on for details about Part IV's "definitive coverage of the 'Age of Capital,' the industrial revolution, and the High Victorian Era"!>