Library guide for Graduate Business Programs


This guide is designed for students in Graduate Business Programs such as MBA, EMBA, MOT, GDBA and MSc. Finance.  It includes tips for literature searches, with emphasis on using business databases, which give you access to information not freely available on the open web.

Other starting points:

Research help

You can contact Moninder Lalli, Librarian for Graduate Business Programs ( for assistance via email or to make an appointment, or use the Ask a librarian link to receive assistance.

Resources for business information

Start with Business information resources guide to find recommended sources, and for search tips that will save you time. 
For resources by type of information, check out the specialized guides under the side tab, Additional resources: Business information sources. Examples include: Company information, Industry surveys, Market research, etc.

News from our BUEC Buzz blog

Follow the BUEC Buzz to keep on top of new resources available for business & economics research at SFU: RSS

Video tutorials for finding business information

Before you start  searching for information, please watch these four tutorials to save you time and effort.  Created by Mark Bodnar, SFU Business and Economics Librarian, the tutorials provide very useful tips and search strategies to business information.

Actions vs Words: Understanding a Company's Strategies Using News Sources  (11.35 mins.)
"This one is about using news sources to gather information about what a company has been doing so that you can infer the company's strategy, rather than relying solely on the company's explicit statements or third-party analysis." [Mark Bodnar] Also includes a very good demo of using Factiva (business news) database.

Secondary Research for Business Decisions: Foundations for Estimates (8.02 mins.)
To cover the all-important principles that underlie many of the presentations I do in Beedie classes. [Mark Bodnar]

For more on secondary research, try Mark's 12-part series of posts "on research to support new outdoor recreation services, but the steps involved are common to many research topics and the advice I've provided is based on my meetings with thousands of researchers over the years." [Mark Bodnar]

Spying on a Conversation: Literature Review Assignments in Business (18.25 mins.)
"Provides lots of tips and tricks to make the research for your next literature review assignment much more efficient and effective" [Mark Bodnar]

An earlier video tutorial, Only 4 Steps: Researching in Academic Business Journals (6.30 mins.), provides basic instruction on how to break down your topic and do a literature search.

Databases for business research

Below, is a sample of databasese that are useful for doing business research.

 Business Source Complete is a key resource, and includes business journals (trade and scholarly), industry reports, and country profilesStart here to search most business topics or for specific journal articles.   See Only 4 Steps: Researching in Academic Business Journals (6.30 mins. video tutorial), to learn how to break down your topic and do a literature search.

Try combining keywords for your research topic:

("small business OR entrepreneur*) AND (manag* OR personnel OR employee*)

Factiva - Over 35,000 sources (newspapers, newswires, industry publications, websites, company reports, and more) from 200 countries, in 26 languages. Includes the Wall Street Journal.

Nexis Uni - International news coverage, business news, legal cases and law reports from early 1970's to present. Content is strongly American with significant coverage of Canadian and international topics. Formerly LexisNexis Academic.

PsycINFO - use for consumer psychology, employees, etc. Contains Articles, books, book chapters, technical reports, and theses and dissertations in the field of psychology

CBCA Full Text Business - Canadian focus: Trade journals, general business publications, academic journals, topical journals, and professional publications.

Canadian Newsstream  - Full text access to major Canadian daily newspapers (such as the Globe and Mail, National Post, The Gazette (Montreal), and Vancouver Sun) as well as small market newspapers and weeklies published in Canada.

Canada Commons (formerly, Canadian Electronic Library from desLibris) - for public policy documents from Canadian institutes, think-tanks and research groups.

IBISWorld Industry Reports - Analysis of Canadian, US, Chinese and global industries providing insight into current and future industry performance, changing trends, operating conditions and supply chain linkages. Each report covers the industry's description, outlook, and life cycle stage, as well as the competitive landscape, major companies, and key statistics.

For more, see business databases by area of concentration:

Accounting, Business AdministrationFinanceHR/Management and Organizational StudiesInternational BusinessManagement Information SystemsManagement and Organizational StudiesMarketingNews resources: Finding newspaper articles and newspapersSAGE Business CasesTechnology & Operations Management

Find books

Search the Library Catalogue to search for books, journal articles, government reports, films, and more.
To find search tips and techniques, check:

The Library Catalogue Search Guide provides search tips for effective searching, including power searching, and strategies for finding books and journal articles.

For any of the sample searches below, try limiting the search results by "Subject" (left-hand side) or "Resource type"

Combine different concepts using AND
Combine same concepts using OR
Use quotation marks to search for a phrase
Use brackets for synonyms
Use asterisk (*) for different endings of words

Note:  For Catalogue Search, when combining concepts, use CAPITAL letters ( "OR", "AND")

Selected subject headings:

In the SFU Library Catalogue, use the Browse search option and then change "title" (default) to "subject" 

TIP: When you find a relevant book, try clicking on the "Subject" link in the full Library record for more books on that topic.

Selected Library books

Past SFU MBA projects

You can also see examples of MBA research projects completed by previous SFU graduate business students. Note: From about 2010 on, please check with staff at the Graduate Business Program.

Google Scholar & Google

Search tips for Google Scholar & Google

  • Search results limited to words in the title of document, using "intitle:"
  • Use capital "OR" for synonyms.
  • Put parentheses "( __ OR __ )" around words that mean the same thing
  • Do NOT use "AND" to join different concepts, "AND" is assumed when two words are next to each other.

For more, try Search tips for Google, Google Scholar, DuckDuckGo, and other search engines

Google Scholar

Citation searching 

Citation searching is a useful strategy to check to see if a work that is relevant for your research has been cited by anyone else since it was initially published.  
Enter the "citation" information into Google Scholar, using the link from SFU Library.  If your citation appears in the results list, check beneath it for "Cited by."

Example: Trosper, R., Nelson, H., Hoberg, G., Smith, P., & Nikolakis, W. (2008). Institutional determinants of profitable commercial forestry enterprises among First Nations in CanadaCanadian Journal Of Forest Research38(2), 226-238. doi:10.1139/X07-167
"Cited by"

For more on measuring the quantitative impact of articles, journals, or authors, see Impact metrics.

Google & its special search engines for government info

Use Google when searching for information from companies, industry associations, government, etc.

Search for a topic: Indigenous land claims in British Columbia

(aboriginal OR indigenous) land claims (BC OR British Columbia)

Search results limited to words in the title of document, using "intitle:".  Use capital "OR" for synonyms.  Put parentheses "( __ OR __ )" around words that mean the same thing

  intitle:"wine industry"   intitle:(BC OR British Columbia OR Okanagan)  

Search for documents from a particular country's domain.  The example below is for India, with country code of ".in". 
Other country codes:  Web country codes

   Search for documents from websites in India about elders and families (elderly OR seniors OR aged) intitle:families 

Google's search engines for government information

Presentation skills

See the Student Learning Commons for expert and friendly help with academic writing, learning, and study strategies.

Library guides

Writing and citing help

For writing support services, see: 

For citing help, see the SFU Library guide: Citation Guide for Business Sources.