Stanley Lyle's blog

Q&A: What is an academic journal?

Professors may require that all or at least some sources for assignments come from "academic" or "scholarly" journals. Both terms are used to describe such journals. So what is an academic journal? A "journal" is a publication that is published on a regular basis such as four or twelve times a year. Academic journal articles are aimed at faculty, students, and other researchers in a field. Published academic journal articles typically have been evaluated and "graded" by two or more experts in the field before being published. Academic journal articles typically include a list of works cited (references). The authors are named and their academic qualifications and affiliations are listed. Academic journal articles often report on an empirical study and include sections such as a literature review, description of the methodology used in the study, the results, and discussion and implication of the results. This page goes into more detail on the characteristics of academic journals, particularly in comparison with magazines. Rod Library databases provide ways to help identify academic or scholarly journal articles in accounting, economics, finance, management, and marketing. ABI/INFORM Global is one example; the database publisher arranges search results by publication type, including Scholarly Journals. While this method does NOT work perfectly, it does speed up the process of finding scholarly or academic journal articles on a topic. ABI/INFORM and other business databases with this feature such as Business Source Elite and Business & Company Resource Center can be accessed from the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z or from the Rod Library Business Portal.

Research Consultations

Having trouble finding appropriate sources for your assignments? Or just want to speed up the research process for an upcoming paper? Individual students and groups can request extensive assistance with a research project by scheduling a consultation with a librarian. A research consultation usually lasts 45 - 60 minutes. The librarian will suggest search terms, research tools, and strategies oriented toward a specific topic being studied by an individual or group. Fill out the form at to request an appointment (48 hours in advance). More immediate assistance can be obtained by contacting the Rod Library reference desk via chat, phone, email, or in person:

AICPA Economic Crisis Resource Center

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants launched an Economic Crisis Resource Center on March 1. "Whether you are job hunting, seeking articles on job skills in a recession or looking for financial reporting or strategic planning guidance for your business, the Economic Crisis Resource Center is designed to help all CPAs to get through this together." This site focuses on accounting, but it also covers topics likely to be of interest to students in finance, economics, hr, and other disciplines.

Mergent Online Adds International Companies

Mergent Online contains up to 15 years of quarterly and annual financial data and other information for the publicly-held companies it covers. This has been limited to 10,000 U.S. companies until recently, when the publisher added coverage for more than 20,000 publicly-held firms in more than 100 different countries. Mergent Online can be accessed from the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z and also from the Rod Library Business Portal.

Q&A: Where do you find international market reports?

International market reports may be available in Rod Library databases and from professional association and federal government web sites. International markets for specific products may be discussed in articles as well. About half of the reports in the Mintel database, which can be accessed from the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z and also from the Business Portal, cover non-U.S. markets. Most of the non-U.S. reports cover specific European countries. Some reports cover international markets as a whole, though; for example, the International Hotel Industry report includes sections on China. (A personal account must be created to access this database.) Business & Company Resource Center, also available through the Business Portal and through Databases A-Z, contains reports on products in specific countries. Go to Advanced Search, and switch the Content Area to Industry Overviews. Entering the country terms in the first box, such as China or Chinese, and the product in the second box, such as wine, in some cases retrieves overviews of the market for a given product in a specific country. You may need to change what's being searched from Keyword to Full Text. Also, watch for the green Market Research tab in the upper right side of the screen for more sources. A Rod Library research guide for International Business & Economics gives a few more suggestions. For example, the Industries & Markets section suggests trying a U.S. government site on exports which leads to reports on doing business in other countries and sometimes on specific products in other countries.

My Reading History (UNISTAR library catalog feature)

Library staff members are often asked if we can give someone a list of the books they have checked out in the past. Our answer has always been, "No." The library takes seriously the privacy of your library records so we do not maintain a list of what you borrow after you return it. "My Reading History" is a new feature which allows you to track items you borrow. Some patrons have asked for this service as a means of recalling a book or author they liked or for keeping a list of what they have already read. Participation in the feature is entirely voluntary. You may start or stop using it, as well as delete any or all entries in "My Reading History”, at any time. If you choose to start using "My Reading History", you agree to allow our automated system to store this data. To enable “My Reading History” go to My Library Account, choose My Reading History, and then choose “Start Saving My Reading History”. This begins the collection of titles you borrow from the Rod Library. (This item originally appeared in the Rod Library News blog on 1/15/09.)

Q&A: How do I find federal court cases? And Iowa cases, federal or state court?

There are different ways to do this. One approach is to use LexisNexisAcademic or WestLaw Campus. Both are available from the Rod Library Databases A-Z page or from one of the Business Portal pages. In LexisNexis Academic, for example, click the Legal link at the top of the page. After reaching the Legal section, click the Federal & State Cases link on the left side of the screen. The resulting form includes a place to enter the case name or citation if you already have such information. A drop-down menu on the Federal & State Cases search form can be used to pick (and search) only U.S. Supreme Court cases or Iowa, Federal & State Cases combined, for example. One way to find cases that deal in a significant way with some topic, from the North Western Reporter (court cases from Iowa and other midwestern states), is to structure the search as in this example: Cite (n.w.) and headnotes (breach of contract) [and add either more keywords, or a date range, etc.] Or pick the Iowa, Federal & State Cases combined drop-down to search Iowa Federal and State court cases. Here's what LexisNexis says about what's available through the drop-down for Iowa, Federal & State Cases combined: "The Iowa combination of Federal and State case law provides all available case law for jurisdictions relating to Iowa. The Federal case law includes the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, as well as the U.S. District Court and Bankruptcy Courts for the State of Iowa. The State case law includes the Supreme Court of Iowa and the Iowa Court of Appeals."

IBISWorld Recession Updates by Industry

The IBISWorld database contains reports on some 700 industries. The President of IBISWorld announced on January 12, 2009 that they are adding a recession outlook section to each of the 700 industry reports they regularly produce. They also have prepared a more general economic forecast. IBISWorld predicts that some industries will actually benefit from the recession and that "the turning point for every industry is different." IBISWorld can be accessed from the Rod Library Business Portal and the Rod Library home page under Databases A-Z.

Q&A: Where do you find industry overviews for marketing reports?

One source that may work for some marketing reports is IBISWorld. (It's also available from Rod Library Business Portal and home page.) IBISWorld contains about 700 industry market research reports. The one on caterers, for example, covers topics like market characteristics, industry conditions, key sensitivities and success factors, competitors, and outlook for the industry. Most reports are updated at least once a year. Other tools for finding industry and market reports are listed on the Business Portal and on a handout called Industry and Market Research Steps.

Q&A: How do you find annual demographic and economic data on the states?

There are different ways to find economic and demographic data on the states. One way is to go to government agencies collecting and distributing such data, like the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Another way to get started, which does not require knowing which government agency may collect desired data, is to use ProQuest Statistical Insight; it also can be accessed from the Rod Library home page, under Databases A-Z. This product's Find a Table search form includes a box in which to enter a variable such as per capita income and checkboxes for narrowing the search. These narrowing options include: *geographic areas, such as by states *demographics, such as by sex *economic, such as by occupation *frequency of data, such as annual *period of coverage (all years, last x years, or a range of years) ProQuest Statistical includes data from the U.S. government, state governments, associations, and international organizations. Some tables are in PDF format and some are in Excel.

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