Why Writing Works

Disciplinary Approaches to Composing Texts

Research in Business Administration

by Dr. Heather Rickgarn

Research can be an incredibly important component of business management research. From our first class in the program, MGMT 101: Introduction to Business, to the capstone course MGMT 492: Business Policy, the expectation is for students to use research as a way to further their education while familiarizing themselves with how to identify changes happening in their industry.

Scholarly journals

The business management discipline has numerous scholarly journals for students to refer to during the research process. Because of the broad nature of the discipline, it is not possible to capture all of the major journals in this listing. The list of journals in this area is one that can highlight a variety of publishers for the management discipline. These publications meet scholarly, peer-reviewed standards, meaning the articles are reviewed by editors to ensure it adheres to the standards of the journal. During the review process, the publisher will evaluate the manuscript before publishing to determine the accuracy and scholarship of the material. If the reviewers do not think the article meets the needs of the publication, it will be rejected. The point of the peer-review process is to ensure credible, accurate, and articulate manuscripts appear in the publication.

Major scholarly journals include:

  • Academy of Management Annals
  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Asia Pacific Journal of Management
  • Business Strategy and the Environment
  • Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
  • Global Strategy Journal
  • Group and Organization Management
  • Information & Management Journal
  • International Business Review
  • International Journal of Project Management
  • International Public Management Journal
  • International Small Business Journal
  • Journal of Business Ethics
  • Journal of Business and Psychology
  • Journal of International Business Studies
  • Journal of International Management
  • Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
  • Journal of Management
  • Journal of Management Inquiry
  • Journal of Management Studies
  • Journal of Public Policy and Marketing
  • Journal of World Business
  • Leadership Quarterly
  • Management Learning
  • Project Management Journal
  • Quality Technology and Quantitative Management
  • Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal
  • Strategic Management Journal
  • Strategic Organization
  • Technological Forecasting and Social Change

Trade publications

In comparison to scholarly sources, the business management field does allow for the use of trade publications. A trade publication can sometimes provide relevant and up-to-date information; however, it may have less stringent requirements concerning the peer-review process. Trade publications can sometimes publish recently changed information where scholars may not have had the opportunity to research yet. For example, with the introduction to COVID-19, changes in telework and management strategies were widely available in trade publications but may still be part of the scholarly research process. The purpose behind trade publications is to help in providing context to current events or legislative changes in the industry. One of the easier ways to identify a trade publication from a scholarly source is through the existence of advertising within the publication. While trade publications help in identifying current trends in the industry, they may not have evidence-based practice information. 

Examples of trade publications include:

Open internet resources

Open internet resources (OIR) can provide information for students in the field of management; however, the student needs to evaluate the resource carefully for the CRAAP principles. In the review of open educational resources (OER) or OIR, not all of the information may be evidence-based, factual, or unbiased. While blogs can help with providing context, the student needs to try and find similar information from a credible source. Wiki's, like Wikipedia, can also provide context and guide the student during the initial research process; however, it should not be used as a definitive source in a paper or presentation.

Government agencies

Government agencies can play a vital role in certain aspects of business management. Government agencies are seen as credible sources in providing data and statistics for the industry. For example, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics can provide information on job growth areas, unemployment rates, or wage ranges. The Department of Commerce can help in clarifying economic growth areas along with trade data. The Small Business Administration can identify steps for launching or managing a business as well as identify possible funding sources.


Common databases for researching business administration topics include:

  • Academic Search Premier
  • Business Source Premier
  • Communication & Mass Media Complete
  • MegaFile
  • Mergent Intellect (First Research)
  • Morningstar Investment Research Center
  • Newsstream: US News Sources
  • Psychology Database
  • PubMed
  • Science Direct
  • Statista
  • Value Line

Tips for researching

As a student starts researching, it is helpful to refer to the research guide published through the library: Here, students can find help with evaluating resources, clarifying good and bad sources, and have easy access to preferred databases.

When students begin searching, it is helpful to start with a broader term(s) and narrow down the search from there. Students are encouraged to use Boolean search terms to connect multiple ideas. There are three types of Boolean searches a student can use: AND, OR, or NOT. AND allows the student to look at both concepts together in a search (narrows the search), where OR allows for the use of synonyms (broadens the search). NOT allows a student to eliminate words from the results list. For example, they may want to use the term "leadership" NOT "management" if a student is only getting sources referring to management strategies.

Another helpful strategy is to use truncation and wildcard use as a way to improve search results. Truncation means a student will only use part of the word to help with increasing result options. The use of the wildcard * means can proceed or follow that symbol. The use of a ? means it will only replace that character.

For example, a student may be trying to find information on motivation but is not getting a lot back a lot for results. The student could truncate by typing motivat*, which would allow for searches, including motivate, motivation, motivator, or motivating all in a single search. In contrast, a student looking for an organization or organisation (depending on European or American spelling), the student can enter organization and get back results for both spelling options.

Once the student gets back the initial results, it may be beneficial to narrow down the results using the limit to options for scholarly (peer-reviewed) along with changing the publication date from five years ago to the current year. Some students may find it helpful to use the limit of full-text to identify sources for full review/reading.


Business Administration Overview

Writing in Business Administration

Reading in Business Administration

Documentation in Business Administration