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BAM101/BAM107 Business Research Tutorial

Choosing Search Terms & Finding Articles

Starting your Search

1. Start with a simple search.

Type in the topic, person or place that you need information on. For example,

  • joint ventures
  • whistleblowers
  • tariffs

Choose terms that describe the topic you're looking for. Try to find terms that are not too broad and not too narrow.

For search term ideas, look to your textbook, or do some background research to learn about the topic and which terms could be used to find information.

2. Add more search terms to refine the search. For example,

  • Start with: imports
  • More narrow: clothing imports

3. Use only important words or concepts rather than an entire sentence. For example,

  • Not ideal: Examples of entrepreneurs in Canada
  • Better: Canada entrepreneurs

4. Phrase searching. 

Many library databases allow for phrase searching with the use of quotes (“). For example,

  • “small business” will find results with that exact phrase.


Tip: Background Research
For unfamiliar topics, consider doing some background research to learn more about the topic before starting your research! This will help in generate a list of keywords or subtopics to search for in Library databases. Tools for conducting background research include:
Textbooks - review the relevant chapter or section in your textbook.
Google - Google your topic and see what comes up - look for any keywords to try searching for in Library databases, or any interesting subtopics.
Wikipedia - Google may lead you to a Wikipedia page on your topic. Review Wikipedia for potential subtopics and keywords to use in your search. But, remember that Wikipedia is not an academic or reliable source to refer to in a research assignment. This is because anyone can edit Wikipedia articles.
Encyclopedias - such as Encyclopedia Britannica will often provide brief introductions to a topic.

Finding Articles in Library Databases

Search in one of the following business article databases to find articles from newspapers or magazines. Read the database descriptions to learn what kinds of articles each database includes:

Tips for Improving Your Search Results

Sort your results by Relevance to bring articles that are related to your search terms to the top of the list.

Databases often have various search limiters that can be used to narrow the search. However, it is often not necessary to use all of these. The filters that are most helpful for finding current newspaper and magazine articles are Source Type and Publication Date.

Source Type - Click Magazines or Newspapers

Date - Filter to a specific date range

MLA Citation

Remember to cite your sources! Using Microsoft Word’s References feature to create your citations? Learn more about Microsoft Word's References feature:

Note: Microsoft Word uses an older version of MLA (MLA 7th edition), so the citations will differ from the examples on the Seneca Libraries guide. The Seneca Libraries guide is based on current MLA 9th edition.

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