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Lesson 2: Orientation to Graduate-Level Research

Lesson 2 focuses on how to conduct topic searches using ProQuest Ashworth Colleges online library
resource and how to differentiate between the various periodical types. Guided by the use of actual
ProQuest screenshots, you will learn to conduct basic and advanced searches and explore other
available ProQuest search options. Next, you will review the differences between scholarly journals and
trade magazines and learn how to limit or narrow your search criteria to find only scholarly journals. This
lesson discusses the Required Readings, including how to access them and how to check for updates.
In addition, Lesson 2 explores the basics of searching for and evaluating information from Web sites. It
explores the use of search engines, search operators, and domains to aid you in locating relevant
information. Further, it examines information evaluation criteria including authorship, bias, content,
publisher, and referral to other sources. This lesson presents the problems, as well as the usefulness of
information available on the Web. Lastly, Lesson 2 helps you learn to evaluate each source of
information based on its appropriateness for graduate-level research.
NOTE: Throughout this lesson, you will notice the words article and document used interchangeably.
According to Merriam-Webster Online, an article is a non-fictional prose composition usually forming an
independent part of a publication (as a magazine), and a document is a writing conveying information
( Thus, for the purposes of this lesson, they mean the same thing. You will notice that
ProQuest uses the term document, so do not get confused.

Learning Objectives
Upon completion of Lesson 2, you should be able to:

Differentiate the three ProQuest databases ABI/Inform Global, Criminal Justice Periodicals
Index, and Hoovers.

Conduct basic, advanced, publication, and browse searches on ProQuest, limiting searches to
scholarly and full-text articles.

Distinguish among scholarly academic journals, business trade periodicals, and popular
magazines, using ProQuest to identify articles of each type.

Compare articles in terms of appearance, audience, authorship, publishers, content,

accountability, and peer-review requirements.

Evaluate articles and determine which ones are appropriate for graduate-level research.

Retrieve Required Reading lists from the student Web site and check for updates to these

Utilize the various search engines to gather specific data found on the Internet.

Examine biases that may be present on various search engines.

Identify and choose domains for the purpose of limiting and refining searches.

Use operators to limit and refine searches on search engines as well as to assist in evaluating
information on Web sites.

Evaluate the authority of a Web site author by using academic indexes and databases.

Utilize internal information (such as date of site, relevant links, and bibliography) to determine
the accuracy of a Web site.

Utilize external information from the Internet and other sources to evaluate information on a
Web site.

Analyze information on a Web site for bias including analyzing the use of language and
determining the publisher and purpose of the Web site.

Evaluate Web sites to determine their appropriateness for graduate-level research.

What To Do Next
Lecture and Research Update
Click on the Lecture and Research Update link above to access your lesson lecture notes.
Vocabulary List
Click on the Vocabulary List link above to view vocabulary terms that are found in the Lecture and
Research Update for this lesson. Study and learn the meaning of each term and how to apply the term
to the content area and the real world.
Discussion Questions
After you have completed the readings in this lesson and feel comfortable with the material presented,
go to the Assignments tool on the left navigation panel underneath the QUICK LINKS section and
completeDiscussion Question 2_02 and Discussion Question 2_03.
Grading Criteria
Once you have completed these items, you are ready to move on to your next lesson!

Lecture and Research Update

You will receive the greatest benefit from the following Lecture and Research Update if you first read this
narrative, review the lesson, then come back to this section and carefully reread this Lecture and
Research Update.
This Lecture and Research Update is divided into two important sections: locating information and
evaluating information. The primary source for your research at Ashworth College is online; you will use
the Ashworth College Library as well as Web sites that you select. Both of these sources of information
are replete with appropriate graduate-level research; however, many periodicals located in the online
library contain articles of general interest that are not appropriate for graduate-level research. In addition,
many Web sites contain biased or false information. Therefore, it is imperative that you not only are able
to locate information but that you also are able to evaluate it for its appropriateness.
What Does the Ashworth College Library Offer?
Required Reading Lists
Sources on the Web
Evaluating Periodicals and Information from Web Sites
Selected Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Journals
Lecture and Research Update Bibliography
Bowling Green State University. (2015). Library instruction: Boolean operators. Retrieved November 11,
2005, from
Browne, M. N., & Keeley, S. M. (2003). A Prentice Hall guide to evaluating online resources. Upper
Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
ProQuest Training Resource Center. (2015). ProQuest training material: ABI quick start guide. Retrieved
December 14, 2015, from
Sherman, C. (Ed.). (2005, March 23). Metacrawlers and metasearch engines. Retrieved December 14,
2015, from
Williams, S. W. (2002). Making better business decisions: Understanding and improving critical thinking
and problem-solving skills. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

What Does the Ashworth College Library Offer?

The Ashworth College Library allows you to conduct most of your required research online. It uses three
ProQuest databases: ABI/Inform Global, Criminal Justice Periodicals Index, and Hoovers.

1. ABI/Inform Global: This database offers approximately 1,300 full-text articles from business
periodicals and newspapers on topics such as economics, business trends, corporate strategies,
ethics, and human resources. It includes articles from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and HR
Focus. In addition, approximately 10,000 business dissertations and masters theses have also
been loaded into this database.

2. Criminal Justice Periodicals Index: This database offers a comprehensive collection of national
and international criminal justice journals that address topics such as law enforcement,
administration, drug enforcement and rehabilitation, family law, and security. Journals include
Corrections Today, Crime, Law and Social Change, and Criminology & Public Policy.

3. Hoovers: Hoovers connects users to over 15,000 private and public company profiles including
the latest, most comprehensive information on the market. Hoovers offers company descriptions,
financials, news, key officers, and competitors.

Accessing ProQuest
Access to the Ashworth College Online Library service is free and provided upon enrollment. To access
1. Go to (Figure 2-1).

2. Click on the Click here or the Ashworth College Library link. You will now be on the
ProQuest Basic Search page (Figure 2-2).

Figure 2-1: The Ashworth College Library

ProQuest Shortcuts and Bookmarks
You may choose to create a Desktop shortcut or Favorites bookmark to access the library resources as
described above. Shortcuts and bookmarks must be created prior to reaching the ProQuest Basic
Search page. Otherwise, you will receive an Authentication Error 1010. It is best to create a Desktop
shortcut or Favorites bookmark from the Ashworth College Library Web site (as shown in Figure 2-1). This
enables you to quickly access the library. If you have ProQuest access problems using the shortcut or
bookmark methods, you may have some type of software or firewall issue preventing access (see the
next section).
Internet Browser and Firewall Configurations for ProQuest Access
To ensure your computer systems internet browser and firewall software are properly configured for
ProQuest access, go to ProQuests technical support Web page. ProQuest provides detailed instructions
on how to configure your software for ProQuest access at the following
Locating Information on ProQuest
Using the Basic Search
To find an article on ProQuest:

1. In the search box, input the article title, and press Enter.

2. This will bring up a list of articles with similar titles.

3. Search through the list of articles and locate the correct article by comparing the author, date of
publication, etc.

If you are not looking for a particular publication, author, or article, you may type in a key word and click
on Search. See Figure 2-2.
Tip: Be specific. The more specific the key word is, the narrower the search. The entry criminal justice,
for example, elicits over 25,000 responses, whereas the entry drug rehabilitation elicits only 218
Figure 2-2: The ProQuest Basic Search Page
Using the Publication Search
If you know the publication title, date, and article title, you should do a publication search. The steps, tips,
and instructions below will help you conduct a publication search.

1. Click on the Publications tab at the top of the page. Figure 2-3 shows the screen that you will
see when you click on the Publications tab.
Figure 2-3: The ProQuest Publications Search Page

2. Click on the letter of the alphabet that represents the first letter in the publication title. You will
then see a complete list of publications beginning with that letter.

3. Scroll down to find the publication needed and click on it. All available issues of the publication
will be listed.

4. Click on the date or issue number needed.

Tip: Browsing Periodical Issues. If you would like to browse issues of a particular publication, this
search is also useful for doing that. Browsing publication issues may give you an idea or a focus for your
Using the Advanced Search
An advanced search allows you to tailor your search by giving you options to limit or narrow your
searches (see Figure 2-4).

1. Click on the Advanced tab at the top of the page (see circled tab).

2. On the first line under the heading Advanced Search, click on the first dropdown menu and
then type your key search terms in the blank to the left of that option.

3. On the next two lines, more dropdown menus provide additional options to limit or broaden your
search. Choose an option for each dropdown menu on the second line and then fill in the blank.
Figure 2-4: The ProQuest Advanced Search Page
Using Browse
Some ProQuest database products, such as ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source, and
ABI/INFORM Global offer browsingin addition to searchingas a way of finding content (Figure 2-5).
Important to know: When you are using browse, you are simply clicking links, ultimately revealing
relevant documents in a results list. Unlike searching, you do not enter any words or phrases as search

1. More than one browse experience:

The browse experience can vary, depending on the database product and the nature of the
content. Some examples of the browse experience in ProQuest include:

o Topic explorations browse an editorially defined topic and subtopic presentation such
as Study Paths in ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source

o Subject exploration browse an editorially defined directory of subject terms, for

example ABI/INFORM Complete
o Specific Content exploration such as Industry and Market Research in ABI/INFORM

Study Paths in ProQuest Nursing and Allied Health Source are presented as a hierarchical
organization of broad nursing-related topics. When you click one of these broader topics, you
expose related, more focused subtopics. As you continue to click deeper into one of these topic
study paths, you ultimately reach a View documents link. When you click that link, a list of
relevant documentsselected by nursing professionalsdisplays.

2. Find a topic:

Some database products, such as the Daily Brief Service in OxResearch, provide a search box
and Go button to let you search for a topic within an editorially built hierarchy of topics or
subjects. The Go button returns a list of matching (if any) topic or subject links.

3. Breadcrumbs and topic/subject exploration

If you are browsing a topic or subject hierarchy of links and then display a document from the
results list, the trail of links you clicked to find that document may be presented at the top of the
document view. This trail is often called a breadcrumb trail.
A sample breadcrumb trail might look like this:
Business & Industry > Accounting & taxation > Accounting > Accounting methods > Cost
accounting >
You could click any link in the trail to return to that place in the overall topic structure.
Figure 2-5: The ProQuest Browse Page
ProQuest Tools That Will Aid You in Document Selection
ProQuest has a few tools that will aid you in your search for scholarly, full-text articles that are appropriate
for graduate-level research. After you enter a search, ProQuest returns a list of matching documents
called your Search Results. By default, documents that ProQuest determines are most relevant to your
search terms display at the top of the list.

1. The search box above your results list:

Results not what you expected? Search again. The search box above your search results reflects
your search criteria. If it does not look like you found the documents you need, run a new search.
Want to change your search: Click Modify search to return to the search page where you
created the search, with your original search terms and any limiters displayed.
Search within your current results list: Click Search within to jump to the bottom of your results
list and use the search box there to search within your current results list only. By searching
within your current results list, you are focusingor narrowingyour search.
What does an asterisk (*) next to your results count mean? When you run a search, and you do
not select the checkbox labeled Include duplicate documents, duplicate documents are
removed from your results list. The asterisk serves as confirmation that duplicates were removed.
The number shown is an estimated count after duplicate removal.

2. Suggested subjectspowered by ProQuest Smart Search:

When you run a search, ProQuestin addition to returning a results listautomatically evaluates
your search terms to provide you with subjects relevant to your search. The subjects display as
links in a box titled Suggested subjects at the top of your results list. Click a subject to retrieve a
results list of relevant documents.

3. Choose the amount of detail you want to display for each item in the list:

Items in your Search Results list are available in either Brief view or Detailed view. Click the
links above the results list to switch between the views (Figure 2-6).
Brief view includes:

o Title and date

o Highlighted occurrences of your search terms in the title

o Pricing information (if you are on a transactional payment plan)

o Details of the database that the item was found in, including coverage information

o Citation information (if you are a subscriber to a particular database).

Detailed view includes the same information as Brief view, plus the following:

o Up to three instances of your search terms in the article are highlighted, so you can view
your terms in context

o Links to the article in different formats are shown where available

Figure 2-6: The ProQuest Scholarly Journal Options

4. Documents

Icons show what kind of publication (source type) each item was published in (Detailed view
only): An icon displays to the left of each document title in your results list if you have chosen to
display your items in Detailed view. The icon indicates what kind of publicationfor example,
newspaper or magazinethe item was published in.
Document title and information: The title of each document in your list is a link. Click the link to
view the document. Citation information for each document displays beneath the title. For some
documents, a brief snippet of the available full text displays beneath the citation information.

Document preview: To the right of the title of each item is a Preview icon: . Move your cursor
and pause over the Preview icon corresponding to any item in your results list. A box displays,
containing the document title, abstract, and citation information.

5. Check boxes and your Selected items list:

As you search for documents on ProQuest, you may run across certain documents that you
would like to reference later. ProQuest gives you the option to mark documents that you are
interested in (see Figure 2-7). A checkbox displays with each item in your search results. Select
the checkbox to add the corresponding item to the Selected items page. Traditionally called a
marked list, your list of selected items is stored only for the duration of your current session. The
list will no longer be available after you exit your current session.

Figure 2-7: The ProQuest Selected Items List

Select the checkbox above your results list to add the first 20 items to the Selected items page.
Deselect the checkbox to remove the items. To remove all the items from your Selected
items page at once, click the Clear link in the blue toolbar above the Search Results.
With one or more checkboxes selected, you can also click any of these links above your results
list to perform the corresponding task:

o Email: Email selected items to yourself and others. You can specify the level of available
document detail (Citation, abstract, indexing, Full text, etc.) you want to send, as well as
selecting a citation format.

o Print: Select a level of document detail (such as Full text if available), and display print-
ready versions of the selected documents in one continuous file. Optionally specify a
page break between each document as they print.

o Cite: Create a formatted citation for each selected item in your preferred citation style.
You can then email, print, or download the citations. You can also copy and paste the
citations into a Word or other document.
o Clearing your selected items: After you email, print, or cite a list of items, you can quickly
and easily clear your selected items at one time by checking the Deselect items when
done checkbox.

Required Reading Lists

Each graduate credit course (those courses following this Foundations course) has a list of Required
Readings that are available on ProQuest. Required Readings are always listed after the Lecture and
Research Update Bibliography in your Graduate Student Learning Guide. Additionally, they are listed on
the Ashworth College Web site. You should check the Web site for updates to the Required Reading
lists, as these lists are often updated. You will find that the Required Reading articles will enrich your
understanding of the course content and that they will often aid you in responding to the Discussion
Questions and Activities.
To access the Required Reading list for a particular course, follow the instructions below.

1. Log on to your Ashworth College student account.

2. Click on Assignments.

3. Click on Downloads.

4. Select the course you are taking from the dropdown menu; click on Display Files.

5. You will see the Required Readings list. Open the list to check for the latest updates.

Sources on the Web

Finding Sources on the Web: Search Engines
Chances are that since you are pursuing a distance-learning masters degree, you are fairly Web savvy,
and you may access the Web regularly for your job or surf it for personal reasons. Depending on when
you completed your other degree(s), you may have even taken classes on computer usage and elements
of online research. Since the evaluation of your responses in this graduate program will rely heavily upon
your research, you may find it helpful to review a few pertinent basics that will aid you in locating and
evaluating information from Web sites and determining what will be appropriate for use in your graduate-
level work.
As you are probably already aware, unless you know the exact address of a Web site where information
you need is located, you will need to use search engines to retrieve a list Web sites on your topic. Most
Web users are familiar with basic search engines (computer programs that locate words and retrieve
documents containing these words) such as those listed in Table 2-1. Fewer users, though, are familiar
with metasearch engines, specialized search engines, and educational search engines. Metasearch
engines (see Table 2-2) search multiple search engines simultaneously and return blended lists from
various search engines. For example, a metasearch engine may search Google, Yahoo!, Hotbot, and
Infoseek as well as other search engines concurrently, retrieving a combined list of sites. Specialized
search engines do what their names suggest; they specialize in one particular information area. To locate
a specialized search engine that indexes a specific subject area such as business, go to a search engine
and type in specialized search engine business, and you will get a listing of specialized search engines.
You will find that these specialized engines are much more helpful as you research in your particular
field. Educational search engines provide indexes by subject for an assortment of disciplines such as
humanities or science; examples of educational search engines are the Internet Public Library and the
Library of Congress sites.

Table 2-1: Search Engines

Table 2-2: Metasearch Engines
There are pros and cons concerning the use of any of these search engines. First, the organizations that
provide the searches need to support themselves financially (and perhaps turn a profit); therefore,
sponsored by (paid for) links and advertisements are commonplace on many of these search engines.
In addition, rankings (the order in which results are listed) and inclusions are often purchased by
organizations who wish to be listed first (since they assume that the person doing the searching will stop
looking at sites after the first page or two especially since thousands of sites are often returned in any
given search!). Since metasearch engines use other search engines to compile their lists, some of these
issues are also applicable to information listed on metasearch engines as well. Conversely, metasearch
engines can provide a wealth of information in a relatively short amount of time. Therefore, it is imperative
that as a researcher you think critically about the sources (Web sites) that you use.
Limiting Sources on the Web
Advanced Search Operators
Most search engines have a basic search box on their homepage. You will find, however, that a basic
search most of the time returns too much information; therefore, you may need to limit your searches by
narrowing the search criteria. Near the search box, you will usually find a link to advanced searches that
will allow you to somewhat control the retrieval of information by limiting your results according to the
operators you set. Operators are key words that make a simple search more complex, thereby limiting the
information returned. Advanced searches will vary from search engine to search engine. Advanced search
operators perform the following functions.

1. Limit the Words: This option allows you to limit your search to an exact phrase or to documents
that contain all of the words you have entered. You may also be able to limit your search by
excluding certain words (not). In addition, you may be able to broaden your search by selecting
the option to include any word in your search.

2. Limit the Occurrence: This option allows you to limit where the search terms will appear, such as
in the text, title, links, or possibly in the URL (Web address).

3. Limit the Date: This option allows you to limit return data within a specified period. For example,
you may need data only from May 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015.

4. Limit the Language: This option allows you to limit information to particular languages. This could
be helpful in doing research that may be international in nature.

5. Limit the Content: This option allows you to limit or filter the content of returned information by
excluding undesired content. Probably one of the most prolific filters used today is one that
eliminates or blocks sexually explicit material.

6. Limit the Domain: This option allows you to limit the domain for your search. This is useful if you
want to search only a particular type of site, such as a government or educational site. More
explanation on domains is provided later in this Lecture and Research Update.

Boolean Operators
Another way to limit your searches is by using Boolean operators, a term named after George Boole who
developed Boolean algebra. You can use the following Boolean operators for specific purposes.

1. AND: This operator limits by allowing only a combination of information to be returned.

2. OR: This operator broadens by allowing an additional search criteria to be added.

3. NOT: This operator negates by excluding terms from the search.

The operators AND and NOT work to limit the number of returns, while the operator OR increases the
number of returns. See Figure 2-8 for an illustration of how these operators work.

Figure 2-8: Boolean Operator Use

(Diagrams from Library Instruction, Bowling Green State University, Boolean Operators, retrieved
December 14, 2015, from
Boolean operators can also be used in combinations (see Figure 2-9) to further limit your search results.
Figure 2-9: Using Boolean Operators in Combination
(Adapted from Library Instruction, Bowling Green State University, Boolean Operators, retrieved
December 14, 2015, from
If you make it a practice to use advanced search and Boolean operators, you will find that your searches
will become more specific.
NOTE: Boolean operators are available on ProQuest as well. More information on these operators can be
found on ProQuests advanced search by clicking on Tools: Search Tips and then clicking
on Operators: AND, OR, NOT.
Those of you who are highly computer literate will recognize that this discussion of domains is very
limited. That is because for most people who just want to get some information, only a few facts are
important. Simply phrased, an Internet domain (sphere or territory) is a division or subsection of the
Internet. The top U.S. Internet domains and their specific purposes are listed in Table 2-3. You can
determine a sites domain by looking at the Uniform Resource Locator or URL (the Web address). You
may wonder why a discussion of domains is even important. The reason is that noting the domain will
help you as you analyze the bias of the information. For example, a .com domain may try to influence
you positively towards a product, service, or company, while a .gov site may give you information funded
through government agencies. An .org site may try to influence your beliefs about any number of issues,
as non-profit organizations of all types are hosted here. It is important to note here that most information
is biased in some way, as we will discuss later in this Lecture and Research Update. It is imperative for
you, as a researcher, to be aware of this and to critically evaluate every source of information.

.com Business or Commercial
.edu Educational or Academic
.gov Government
.org Non-Profit, Non-academic, Non-Governmental Organizations
.mil Military
.int International
Table 2-3: Domains
Evaluating Periodicals
Often, the quality of the research you present directly influences the graders evaluation of your
responses; therefore, you should be aware of commonalities that appropriate graduate-level
research share. These common characteristics include specific audience, authorship,
publishers, content, accountability, and peer-review requirements. In exploring these common
attributes, it is helpful to compare them in three types of periodicals popular, trade, and
scholarly as distinguishing between these three journal types will help you determine which
journals are suitable for your responses.
The most apparent difference between the three types of periodicals is their appearance. A
popular magazine will generally have an eye-catching cover with bright visuals. A trade
magazine may also have an attractive cover with a business or industrial theme. Both types of
magazines are printed on glossy paper with photographs and illustrations in color. Popular and
trade magazines generally have numerous advertisements. Articles are usually short. Scholarly
journals, on the other hand, have plain covers and are printed on plain paper. Charts and graphs
may accompany articles in scholarly journals, but there are few photographs or advertisements.
Articles are generally lengthy and accompanied by bibliographies. The difference in appearance
will be less apparent if you are looking at an online version of an article. You will have to make a
distinction based on the various cues described below.
The audience toward which a publication is directed will vary. Popular magazines are aimed
toward the general public and often (rather alarmingly) are written at approximately an eighth-
grade reading level. Trade magazines are directed toward professionals in a specific business
or industry and are thus characterized by business jargon and practical information. Scholarly
journals are written for an audience of professors, students, and researchers in specific
disciplines, an audience that is expected to understand the often-complex research
methodology and results described.
The authorship of the different types of publications varies. Reporters or journalists who may be
adept at research, but who often have no formal education or training in the subjects they
address, write articles in popular magazines. Articles in trade journals are also written by
journalists who are more likely to specialize in business writing, but do not necessarily have
degrees in this area. Authors of scholarly publications, on the other hand, generally have
academic credentials (a doctorate or equivalent) in the area about which they are writing.
The publishers of popular magazines are often media conglomerates such as AOL Time Warner
with a primary emphasis on profit. Trade publications are often commercially published, but are
frequently the products of professional associations. For instance, the Institute of Heating and
Air Conditioning Industries publishes Indoor Comfort News. Scholarly journals may be
commercially published; however, academic associations often publish them as well. The
American Psychological Association, for example, publishes the Journal of Applied Psychology.
The coverage or content of the three types of publications also varies. Popular magazines deal
with popular topics and current events items of general interest. Rarely are business topics
covered in depth. Trade magazines focus on industry trends, news, statistics, new products or
techniques, and organizational news. Scholarly publications include the results of original
research and scholarship. An important distinction to make here is the difference between
primary and secondary sources. Trade and popular magazines may summarize or report the
results of scholarly research, government statistical data-collecting, or similar information. These
reports are secondary, an interpretation of the original source. This interpretation may be
inaccurate or misleading. If possible, you should rely on primary sources in your graduate-
research projects.
In addition, scholarly peer-reviewed journals will be quite different in format from articles in
popular or trade journals. Scholarly articles will usually have lengthy, academic titles and will
include abstracts, biographical information about the authors, and bibliographies. These
features are rarely present in popular or trade articles. In addition, scholarly articles are
generally longer than popular or trade articles that may be more like sound bites to capture a
potentially distractible readers attention.
This leads us to a primary distinction between the three types of publications. The journalists
who write for popular and trade periodicals are accountable to the editors of the magazines for
which they write. Often, articles are assessed for readability, but not necessarily for the accuracy
of content. Frequently, these articles may reflect an editorial bias. In the case of trade
publications, the industrys viewpoint, especially on trade and regulatory issues, may appear.
Articles in scholarly publications, on the other hand, are often referenced or peer-reviewed. This
describes a rigorous process in which articles are submitted to experts on the topic of research.
These experts recommend whether the article should be published as written (rarely the case),
revised before publication, or rejected. Often an article goes through several rounds of review
before it is published. Thus, one may feel reasonably confident that an article published in a
peer-reviewed journal reflects solid, credible research. Ideally, these articles will also be
unbiased, reflecting an objective, neutral perspective.
There are several ways to determine whether a journal is peer-reviewed. Not all scholarly
publications utilize this process. Many online databases, including ABI/INFORM and Business
Source Premier, will allow you to limit to scholarly peer-reviewed publications as part of your
search strategy. If you consult a journals Web site or look inside the front page of a print
publication, the submission and review process will also be described. Generally, the terms
peer-reviewed or refereed will not be given. The journal will, however, mention an editorial
board and request that an author send multiple copies if an article is submitted in print form. The
multiple copies will be forwarded to various reviewers. Also Ulrichs International Periodicals
Directory, available online as, indicates which journals are refereed. A selective
list of peer-reviewed publications is included at the end of this lesson.
Table 2-4 summarizes the distinctions between scholarly, trade, and popular magazines. At
times, your graduate-level research requirements may specify scholarly journal articles. A list of
selected scholarly journals appears at the end of this Lecture and Research Update.
Table 2-4: Distinguishing Between Periodicals
Evaluating Information from Web Sites
At the core of Web site evaluation is the notion of critical thinking. According to Wikipedia,
Critical thinking is a mental process of analyzing or evaluating information, particularly
statements or propositions that are offered as true. It is a process of reflecting upon the meaning
of statements, examining the offered evidence and reasoning, and forming judgments about the
facts ( When evaluating a Web site, you must look
at the site and its contents to determine if, in fact, both can be considered credible sources of
information and if the information is current and relevant to your search topic. The following
discussion takes a closer look at performing this evaluation.
The authority of a given Web site is related to the credibility of a sites author. In evaluating an
online source, you should look for a site that clearly identifies an author or authors, with
information about their titles or positions, organizational affiliations, and contact information.
Remember, though, that biographical information can be faked; therefore, external sources of
verification are desirable. The following two external sources will help you determine an authors

1. An Internet search under the individuals name may reveal other sites in which
information is provided on an author, for instance, a personal Web page developed by
the author in his or her capacity as a faculty member at an institution.

2. Sources such as Business Source Premier, ABI/INFORM, and Academic Source

Premier may be checked for articles; WorldCat can be checked for books.

If no information can be found about the author, the credibility of the site is questionable. It is
important to note that a webmaster is not necessarily the author of the sites content.
Webmasters are typically responsible for the Web sites creation and maintenance, not the
accuracy of the content displayed or accessed.
Sometimes when an individual author is not given, the site is developed under the auspices of a
corporate, governmental, or nonprofit organization. The credibility of well-known governmental
or nonprofit organizations, such as the Federal Trade Commission or the American
Psychological Association, may be readily apparent. If you are unfamiliar with the organization
that officially or unofficially sponsors a site, try to find information about it in a source such
as Encyclopedia of Associations or the online equivalent, Associations Unlimited.
Given that anyone, from a first-grader to a Nobel prize-winning scientist, can post a Web page,
you should use the following guidelines to determine the accuracy of the site you are viewing.

1. Currency: Depending on the topic of research, accuracy may or may not correlate with
the timeliness or currency of the site. For a paper in economic history, currency may not
be critical. If you are seeking the state-of-the-art in information technology, however, you
will need to attend closely to the timeliness of information. Many Web sites will include a
date when the page was created and/or updated. You may be able to determine that
some information on the page is clearly out-of-date, especially if links from the page are
broken (do not take you to the specified location) or lead to sites with outdated

2. Comprehensiveness: Another aspect of accuracy is comprehensiveness. In light of

todays information avalanche, complete information on a topic, even an extremely
narrow one, may be an elusive goal. You should be wary of a Web site that provides a
summary or abstract of a larger study unless a link is provided to access the more
comprehensive source. Information taken out of context may be misleading. Important
facts, qualifications, alternatives, and consequences may be left out.

3. Audience: The audience for which the site is intended can also relate to accuracy. In
doing research on the U.S. Mint, you may come across the site H.I.P. Pocket Change,
which is intended as an educational site for children and teachers. While the information
included here is probably accurate, it is far too simplistic to be used in an academic
research paper. The U.S. Mint homepage includes information that is much more

4. Other Factors Affecting Accuracy: The following factors should also be cues to you
concerning the accuracy of a Web site.

a. Written Expression: Beware of Web sites with numerous grammatical and

spelling errors. Sloppy writing often implies sloppy thinking and definitely
reflects an unprofessional approach.
b. Bibliography/Documentation: A bibliography or other documentation to support
the sites claims should support its accuracy. Be sure to follow up on the
sources cited to be sure they are bona fide references and that they corroborate
information provided by the site.

c. Evaluations/Reviews: Take particular notice of evaluations of a Web site by

other sites or by libraries. Evaluations of Web sites are more difficult to identify
than reviews of books; however, positive reviews are sometimes linked from a
specific site and are also included in library review journals such as Choice or
online sources such as the Scout Report.

A Web sites objectivity refers to its bias and reasonableness. Bias may be defined in a
descriptive way: as an inclination or tendency to a particular kind of thought or action.
Frequently, however, the term is used in a pejoratively evaluative way as a preconceived and
often irrational judgment or opinion. In this sense, it is often considered synonymous with
prejudice. If we view bias in the broader, more descriptive way, it will be obvious that even the
most rigorous scientific research cannot completely eliminate bias. Scientists are biased to
interpret their findings in terms of established categories of their discipline. Value-free research
is probably impossible to achieve and, in fact, perhaps should not be a goal. It is critical,
however, that we identify our own biases and develop skills to assess bias, both descriptive and
evaluative, as we view Web sites and other sources of information.
The popularity and ease of use of the Internet make it a perfect avenue for commercial and
sociopolitical publishing. Propaganda and misinformation abound. Even sites that are not overtly
propagandistic will generally reflect a point of view. A corporate Web site will no doubt present
the corporation in the most positive light. The representation of products produced and sold by a
company is in essence a Web-based advertisement. Many sites include advertisements for
other businesses or lists of sponsors. Be particularly vigilant to see whether advertisement or
sponsorship affects the objectivity of the site in particular whether there is a conflict of interest.
A site that advertises natural products may criticize a competitors products as unhealthy. The
information provided at this site may be accurate and educational, yet the ultimate goal is to
gain financially by convincing you to buy certain products.
Reasonableness encompasses the areas of fairness, objectivity, moderateness, and
consistency. Fairness involves presenting a balanced, reasonable argument. Ideas of others
that differ from the authors ideas should be presented accurately, not as representative of
irrationality, evil, or the like. Be cautious of highly emotional writing, especially writing that
involves hateful or spiteful language. Objectivity, which was previously discussed, should be
reiterated as an elusive goal. Many of our biases are unconscious. A scientist may view himself
or herself as scrupulously objective, but may inadvertently skew results in a specific direction in
support of products from a corporation funding the research. Moderateness relates to the
possibility or probability of claims made on the Internet. While seemingly outrageous claims may
turn out to be true, it is important to seek a corroborating source if a truth has a seedy tabloid
flavor to it: for instance, Half of all Americans will experience a violent crime this
year. Consistency merely relates to information that is not self-contradictory. An argument that
distorts the truth may reveal inconsistencies or contradictions, a sign of unreasonableness.
The author of a Web site, however objective on the surface, expresses a specific worldview:
political, economic, religious, and/or philosophical. This can have a profound effect on the
reasonableness of the writing, since a strongly felt worldview may cause the author to distort the
truth or even fabricate evidence in support of his or her position. Closely related to worldview is
the idea of value assumptions. Values can be defined as what we consider worthwhile or
standards of behavior that we expect people to meet. Depending on your worldview, you may
value justice over mercy, freedom over order, or competition over cooperation. Value
assumptions are rarely spelled out on Web sites; thus, it is important to perform some detective
work to determine the position of the organization sponsoring the site or the individual
responsible for a specific Web page.
The following are several types of assertions that may represent a lack of reasonableness or

1. Intemperate Language: My brain-dead opponent

2. Extreme Claims: Half of all American women will be raped in their lifetimes.

3. Claims of Excessive Significance: This product will revolutionize the way we do


4. Conflict of Interest: Welcome to the Chunky Chocolate Cookie Web site, where one can
read research results of weight loss and reduced depression on the all-chocolate-cookie

Selected Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Journals

The following is a selection of the most prestigious scholarly journals in various
areas of business. All of these journals are peer-reviewed. Peer review is a process
in which the editor of a publication sends copies of a submitted article to experts in
the field for their judgment concerning whether the article is sound and should be
published as is, changed, or rejected. Because of the thorough evaluation process
that takes place before an article is published, you can be assured that articles from
these journals meet high scholarly standards and can be used for graduate-level
It is important to note, however, that this list is highly selective. Especially in broad
areas such as management and economics, there are many other high-quality
journals that you might identify. The list below includes journals that are most often
cited by academic authors; however, you may identify other relevant articles through
periodical databases such as ABI/Inform or Business Source Premier. You may wish
to consult with a reference librarian at a nearby academic institution for assistance in
identifying additional scholarly business sources for your assignments.
Accounting Horizons
Accounting, Organizations and Society
Accounting Review
American Taxation Association
Contemporary Accounting Research
Journal Auditing: A Journal of Theory and Practice
Journal of Accountancy
Journal of Accounting and Economics
Journal of Accounting and Public Policy
Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance
Journal of Accounting Literature
Journal of Accounting Research
Journal of Business Finance and Accounting
Journal of Information Systems
Journal of Management Accounting Research
Journal of Taxation
National Tax Journal
Review of Accounting Studies
Strategic Finance
Criminal Justice
Aggression and Violent Behavior
British Journal of Criminology
Canadian Journal of Criminology
Crime and Delinquency
Criminal Justice Ethics
Criminal Law Review
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Federal Probation
Journal of Crime and Justice
Journal of Criminal Justice
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Journal of Interpersonal Violence
Journal of Quantitative Criminology
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Justice Quarterly
Psychology, Crime and Law
Social Justice
American Economic Review
Cambridge Journal of Economics
Economic Journal
European Economic Review
Games and Economic Behavior
International Economic Review
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Journal of Economic Perspectives
Journal of Economic Theory
Journal of Econometrics
Journal of Financial Economics
Journal of Monetary Economics
Journal of Political Economy
Journal of Regulatory Economics
Quarterly Journal of Economics
RAND Journal of Economics
Review of Economic Studies
Review of Economics and Statistics
Employment Law
American Business Law Journal
Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law
Business Lawyer
Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal
Delaware Journal of Corporate Law
Employee Relations Law Journal
Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal
Employment Law Bulletin
Employment Testing
Industrial Law Journal
International and Comparative Corporate Law Journal
International Corporate Law Bulletin
Journal of Labor Research
Labor Studies Journal
Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal
Entrepreneurial Executive
Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Change
Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice
Industrial and Corporate Change
International Journal of Entrepreneurship
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management
International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship
Journal of Business Venturing
Journal of Entrepreneurship
Journal of Entrepreneurship Education
Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Journal of Small Business Management
Small Business Economics
Business and Professional Ethics Journal
Business Ethics
Business Ethics Quarterly
Ethical Perspectives
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice
Ethics and Behavior
Ethics and Information Technology
Issues in Business Ethics
Journal of Business Ethics
Journal of Ethics
Journal of Information Ethics
Journal of Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues
Professional Ethics
Studies in Practical Philosophy
Teaching Business Ethics
Financial Management
Journal of Applied Corporate Finance
Journal of Banking and Finance
Journal of Business Finance and Accounting
Journal of Corporate Finance
Journal of Empirical Finance
Journal of Finance
Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis
Journal of Financial Economics
Journal of Financial Intermediation
Journal of Financial Services Research
Journal of Futures Markets
Journal of Money, Credit and Banking
Journal of Portfolio Management
Journal of Risk and Uncertainty
Review of Financial Studies
Review of Quantitative Finance and Accounting
Strategic Finance
Human Resources
Group and Organizational Management
HR Magazine
Human Relations
Human Resource Development Quarterly
Human Resource Management
Human Resource Management Journal
Human Resource Management Review
Industrial Relations
International Journal of Conflict Management
International Journal of Human Resource Management
International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management
Journal of Health and Human Services Administration
Journal of Human Resources
Journal of International Human Resource Management
Journal of Rural Management and Human Resources
Management and Training
Research and Practice in Human Resource Management
International Business
European Financial Management
Global Finance Journal
International Economic Review
International Journal of Accounting
International Journal of Auditing
International Journal of Research in Marketing
International Marketing Review
International Review of Finance
International Small Business Journal
International Studies of Management and Organization
Journal of International Business Studies
Journal of International Economics
Journal of International Marketing
Journal of International Money and Finance
Journal of Multinational Financial Management
Journal of World Business
MIR: Management International Review
Multinational Business Review
Academy of Marketing Science Journal
Academy of Marketing Science Review
Industrial Marketing Management
Journal of Advertising
Journal of Advertising Research
Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Journal of Consumer Marketing
Journal of Consumer Psychology
Journal of Consumer Research
Journal of Interactive Marketing
Journal of Macromarketing
Journal of Marketing
Journal of Marketing Channels
Journal of Marketing Research
Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice
Journal of Personal Selling and Sales Management
Journal of Retailing
Marketing Research
Marketing Science
Psychology and Marketing
Organizational Behavior/Industrial and Organizational Psychology
International Journal of Value-Based Management
International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Journal of Applied Psychology
Journal of Business and Psychology
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Journal of Occupational Psychology
Journal of Organizational Behavior Management
Journal of Organizational Behavior
Journal of Vocational Behavior
Leadership Quarterly
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Organizational Dynamics
Personnel Psychology
Personnel Review
Production Management
IIeTransactions: Industrial Engineering Research and Development
International Journal of Operations and Production Management
International Journal of Operations and Quantitative Management
International Journal of Production Economics
Journal of Operations Management
Journal of Product Innovation Management
Knowledge and Process Management
Manufacturing and Service Operations Management
Production and Inventory Management Journal
Production and Operations Management
Yugoslav Journal of Operations Research
Research Methods
Decision Sciences
Finance and Stochastics
Instructional Strategies: An Applied Research Series
International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics
JASA (American Statistical Association)
Mathematical Finance
Mathematical Methods of Operations Research
Qualitative Market Research
Qualitative Research
Qualitative Research Journal
Review of Business Information Systems
Social Science Information
Computer Audit Update
Computer Law and Security Report
Computers and Security
Data Security Letter
Information Management and Computer Security
Information Security Technical Report
Information Systems Security
International Journal of Information Security
Journal of Computer Security
Journal of Security Administration
Journal of Strategic Information Systems
SC Magazine
Security Journal

Vocabulary List
You will find the following vocabulary terms in the Lecture and Research Update for this lesson. Study
and learn the meaning of each term and how to apply the term to the content area and the real
Boolean Operator Objectivity
Consistency Operator
Domain Peer Review
Grading Criteria
1. Discussion Questions Cover Sheet
2. Discussion Question #1 60 points
3. Discussion Question #2 40 points
Contribution to Course Grade
100 points 28.57%