BUS 347: Consumer behaviour

Literature review assignment

Screen capture of the title slide of the video: Spying on a Conversation: Literature Review Assignments in Business  Watch the following video for tips on how to approach this sort of assignment: 

 Spying on a Conversation: Literature Review Assignments in Business

What are scholarly journals?

You will need to find (and recognise!) scholarly literature on your topic for your essay and your presentation. Many databases have a feature that allows you to limit your results to scholarly/peer reviewed journals. Using this will remove most of the non-scholarly articles from your results, but not all of them. You still need to evaluate each article to be sure that it is truly scholarly. 

For a review of what scholarly literature is and looks like, start with: What is a Scholarly Journal?

How do I find scholarly articles?

Different databases provide access to journals in different subject areas. For your assignments, focus on searching in Business Source Complete and PsycInfo as those databases cover most consumer behaviour journals.

Below are  some common "consumer behaviour" subject headings used in each database to get you started.

Business Source Complete:

  • Consumers - Attitudes
  • Consumer behavior
  • Consumers' preferences
  • Attitude (Psychology)
  • Consumer satisfaction
  • Consumers
  • Customer loyalty
  • Advertising


  • Consumer attitudes
  • Consumer behavior
  • Consumer psychology
  • Consumer research
  • Consumer satisfaction
  • Consumer surveys
  • Retailing
Feeling inefficient when you search the databases?  Spend a few minutes watching this video to save hours of searching: Only 4 Steps: Researching in Academic Business Journals. Here's the one-page handout version. (Note that the Library website has changed since this video was made, but the 4 Steps remain as time-saving as ever.)

Having difficulty reading the dense articles in such journals? Check out the resources in our Baffled by dense academic writing? Start here! blog post.

Finding books

Why use books

Books sometimes have a reputation of containing old information, but a quick subject heading search for "consumer behavior" in the SFU Library catalogue will find dozens of useful books and ebooks, many of which were written in the last few years. In addition, remember that consumers are people and human nature doesn't change much in the short term: older books aren't necessarily outdated!

Starting point!
A good book can give you a broad overview of your topic: a single source listing the key subtopics, issues, and relevant articles you need to start exploring.

Evaluating information from books

Be careful to evaluate the information you find in books. In particular, always ask where the information has come from: was it from the author's own experience, a detailed study, or a range of studies listed in a bibliography? Would you trust the information you found if you had to use it to make a million-dollar decision?

Searching for books

Start by searching with the following subjects in the SFU Library catalogue, but also try keyword searching to find books with just one chapter on your topic. For instance, "The Oxford handbook of consumption" has chapters on a number of key themes in consumer behaviour research, each of which could be an entry point into that part of the field. Similarly, see "The Routledge companion to consumer behavior analysis."

A few sample ebooks/books

Help with research, writing, citing, and more!

You will be researching, evaluating, citing, writing, and presenting information from the moment your instructor gives you an assignment to the day you hand it in. We have information and experts available in the library to help with all of those steps... and much more!  

Start by checking to see if we have online tutorials & guides or workshops that will answer your questions. If you don't find what you need there, contact the library via online via chat or email.

For BUS 347 specifically, you may find the following presentation and literature review assistance useful: 

  • Presentations: SFU Library has many books and e-books on “business presentations” and “public speaking.”  Start with this guide to such resources. 
  • Literature Reviews: The literature review guides from the Student Learning Commons will be particularly useful for this course.  See also this detailed how-to guide

You are also welcome to email me (Mark Bodnarmbodnar@sfu.ca) with questions. It makes things much more efficient if you start your email by explaining...

  • what class you are in;
  • when the assignment is due;
  • what exactly you are after (saying that you need research on "consumers & beer" is far too broad - saying that you need to know how to find "academic studies done on the effectiveness of beer advertising among Canadian Millennials" is better (though not necessarily simpler!));
  • where you have you looked so far (have you tried the library catalogue, PsycInfo, Business Source Complete, etc.?);
  • and what search terms you tried when you searched.

I always try to reply to emails within two business days.  However, sometimes that reply will be a series of clarifying questions or a suggestion that we book a Zoom meeting to discuss complex topics. Don't wait to the last minute to start discussing your research!