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Business Research Sources: Overview

Principles Underlying the Philosophy of This Text

The great majority of people have almost no idea what business reference books or databases exist or how to use them, yet many of these same people are employed in the exercise of, for the want of a better phrase, commercial judgments. The mission of this text is to help dispel this ignorance.

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Those individuals with management experience know that in the soul of competent decisions, the substance of good information is always found. Those who can define, identify, retrieve, apply, and evaluate information from an ocean of data will, in our rapidly changing economy, be responsible for the progress and survival of organizations.

Depending on who is counting, there are at least 4,000 references of specific use in the business environment. Harvard Business School Core Collection, for example, contains 3,500 selected works "reflecting the research teaching and general business reading interests of the Harvard Business School." And that doesn't include periodicals. The point is not how many sources exist or which seem the most important, but rather, which specific sources best meet the research goal. This text could not contain even 300 much less 3,000 sources that might have a bearing on a certain commercial issue. Therefore, to accommodate the needs of the average researcher, the reference works selected were limited to the number of works that would roughly meet the needs of all (including the publisher who insisted that this book be limited to 450 pages). Management professors may wonder why the Administrative Science Quarterly was not included; the finance and exchange analyst will wonder about the exclusion of Institutional Investor; and the varsity football team the absence of Sports Illustrated. They all are right; some relevant publications are left out.

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