Business Source Complete

Open Business Source Complete

in another browser window to work through this tutorial side by side.

Welcome to the Business Source Complete tutorial. Business Source Complete is a scholarly business database containing full-text peer-reviewed journal articles from 1886 to today. These are exactly the kinds of sources you need for your APA paper! This tutorial will walk you through setting up a search and navigating your results.

Ready to get started? Click the forward arrow below.

Click Quick Links at the top of the IRSC Homepage.

Screenshot of the Quick Links on the IRSC homepage

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Click the Libraries link to get to the IRSC Libraries homepage. 

Screenshot of the Libraries link.

On the right side of the page you will see a series of links. Select Databases by Subject link.

Screenshot of the Databases by Subject link on the IRSC libraries homepage.

You will now see the login page that reads "Powered by LINCCWeb" in the upper right hand corner.

You will be prompted to login. Your username is your student ID number. Your password is your birth month and date. If your birth date is July 31, 1994, then your password would be 0731. Be sure the college selected in the drop down menu is Indian River State College.


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You will see a series of drop downs in the center of the page. Click the plus sign next to Business. The option looks like this:

Business Subject

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The third database in the list is Business Source Complete (EBSCO). Click that link.

Business expanded

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After selecting Business Source Complete, the database will open in a new tab. Resize the tutorial to continue in the new tab. You will see the Advanced Search screen for Business Source Complete.

Advanced Search

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Before you begin searching, consider your search strategy. What is your topic? Do you have a working thesis statement or research question? You'll want to have your specific topic in mind when you start searching. Your topic shouldn't be so broad that you could write an entire book about it nor so narrow that you could cover it well in a few sentences. 

Keyword Searching

Use your thesis statement or research question to choose your keywords. Keywords should be descriptive words that capture the main idea of the information you are searching for.

The database does not search for stop words which are common articles, pronouns, and prepositions like "the", "for", "of", and, "after". Avoid using stop words unless they are part of an exact phrase or the title of something (business name, poem, novel, film) you are researching.

Boolean Operators

You can see the search boxes are connected by the word AND. This is a Boolean operator. You can choose AND, OR, or NOT to connect your search terms.

Connecting search terms with AND narrows your search by giving you only results containing both of those keywords.

Selecting OR broadens your search. It can be helpful to use OR to connect synonyms or similar keywords like "ethics" OR "principles".

NOT should be used carefully. NOT subtracts all search results containing the keyword listed after it. It can be useful, but can also eliminate many good results.

Type your keywords in the boxes, one concept per box, and select AND to connect them.

Keywords and Boolean Operators

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In the Search Options area below the search boxes, make selections to limit your results. It's a good idea to always check the box next to Full Text.

Many assignments require the use of scholarly or peer-reviewed journal articles. You can narrow your results to only scholarly/peer-reviewed journal articles by selecting the box next to Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals.

It is often helpful (or necessary per the guidelines of your assignment) to search for articles published within a certain date range. You can set the date range in the Published Date area.

Once you select these and have input your keywords, click the Search at the top or bottom of the page.


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Search Results

This page shows your search results. At the top of the page are the same search boxes you saw on the Advanced Search page.

Directly below the boxes at the left of the page, you will see "Refine Results". From here you can add or remove limiters you have used in your search. You can also refine by Source Types, Subject, Publication, Language, Geography, and others.

In the center of the page, to the right of your options to refine your search are your results.

Search Results

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Refining the Search Results

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This search yields 13,215 results! That is way too many.

By default, the results are sorted by newest first. It can be helpful to instead sort them by relevance to your keywords.

Sort by Relevance

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Refining the Search Results

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Some unhelpful results can be eliminated by adding more limiters on the right side of the page. Limiting the Publication Date range to 2008 to 2018Source Types to Academic Journals, and Language to English brings the results down to 6,132.

More Limiters

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Narrowing Search Results by Adding Keywords

The search terms entered are broad. There is more than one approach for further narrowing the results.

One way is to add search terms. There's one empty search field left but you can add more search fields by clicking the plus sign next to the last search field. Adding another keyword to specify some aspect of ethics in management will help narrow the results.

Some options to explore are ethics and management within a particular industry, when working with a particular demographic of employees or customers, or the potential ramifications (legally or to your business) of failing to act ethically.

For this example, I've added higher education to narrow results to ethics and management within institutions for higher education. That brings us down to just 105 results which is a manageable number to look through to see if anything will be useful for my topic.

Adding a Keyword

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Subject Searching

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Another approach is to use subject terms. The database uses a controlled vocabulary which means it has a preferred way of labeling articles about ethics in business management. You can see the subjects associated with the first two articles in the results list here.


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Subject Searching

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Click on the title for the second result. Click on the hyperlinked subject Decision making & ethics.

Searching by Subject

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Subject Searching

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The database automatically starts a new search for all articles filed under the subject Decision making & ethics.

The limiters added earlier have been deselected so select them again. Check the boxes for Full Text and Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals. Type 2008 in the first box of the Publication Date. Select Academic Journals under Source Types and English under Language.

This narrows the results to 462 articles.

Subject Search and Limiters Results

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Database Tools

The results can be narrowed further by adding additional Subject terms to the search or additional keywords, as described earlier.

Click on the title of an article that looks promising. Click PDF Full Text on the left side (if available) to read the full article.

PDF Full Text

Because Full Text was selected when searching, the full text of all articles will be available as PDF, within the screen below the detailed record information as HTML, or both.

Database Tools

When you find an article you can use, save it immediately! It took a lot of steps to get to this point and it will be difficult to recreate your exact search later if you want to find this article again.

The database includes tools on the right side of the screen. You can use these tools to email the article to yourself, print it, save the permalink, or create an EBSCO account to save it to a folder within the database.

Database Tools

E-mail Tool

To email the article to yourself from within the database, click the E-mail tool.

Fill out the form that opens with the email address you want to use to receive the article. Adding a Subject line and Comments is optional. Click the radio button next to Citation Format and choose the style guide you use for your discipline. Press Send.

E-Mail Tool in use

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Cite Tool

Below the E-mail tool on the right side is the Cite tool.

Caution: The cite tool almost always contains at least one mistake. That being said, it can help save you time when creating citations for your References of Works Cited page as long as you check the citation thoroughly for errors.

Scroll down to APA

Scroll down to APA style which is the citation style used for business research papers. Highlight the full citation and copy and paste it into your Word document. Proofread and correct it according the style guide you are using.


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You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.


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