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Term Paper Strategies
Center for Business Research

Choose and Define your Topic

Gathering Information


Talk to the CBR librarians: They can help you narrow your topic and suggest appropriate information sources.


Choose and Define Your Topic

Deciding on a topic can be one of the hardest parts of writing a research paper. Sometimes the topic you have in mind is too broad and you find yourself drowning in information, or sometimes the topic is too narrow, and the information is minimal. Other times, you only have a vague idea of what you want to write about. Remember, deciding on a topic, narrowing it, and refining it is all part of the research process, and the steps you are taking in defining and redefining your topic will actually help you when it's time to sit down and write. Give yourself some time in the library so that you can go through this process.

Below are some tools that can help you find a topic:

Conference Board Index:
The Conference Board publishes reports for business executives on a variety of topics and trends. This index is especially helpful for finding reports on management issues. It is arranged by subject.

General BusinessFile ASAP:
This InfoTrac database provides comprehensive indexing of business magazines, journals, and newspapers. Many of the topics are narrowed into subdivisions with links to additional information, as well as "see also" entries which provide suggested topics that you may also wish to look at. A large number of the articles are full-text.


Gathering Information

Once you have decided on a topic and refined it, it's time to find books, articles, and other materials about your subject. A librarian can help you use the databases and the library catalog to locate relevant materials. The resources listed below will also he helpful.

Annual Reports, 10-K's:
Available in several of our databases as well as on the companies' websites, these reports for publicly traded companies contain financial data, information about directors and key executives, lines of business and more. A 10-K is one of the reports that a publicly traded company must submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). An annual report is one that the company puts out to promote itself. While it may contain very detailed and factual information about the company, keep in mind that the annual report is designed to put the company in the best light possible. Look at other sources for a well rounded view of the company.

Internet:
Provides current information on a variety of business topics. Remember that anyone can create a web page so always check the source and validity of the information. Sometimes the Internet provides easy access to what you need, but other times it's faster to come into the library. Try our WWW Business Sources page, but feel free to talk to a CBR librarian to discuss your information needs.

Online Databases:
There are several online databases available in the library and on the University network that can help students gather information for their term papers. While these are available through the internet and may look like just any other web site, they are specialized databases that provide article listings from major magazines, newspapers, and journals. The databases frequently provide full-text coverage. The database page includes descriptions of the databases arranged by subject: Accounting and Taxation, Business, Business--Directories, Business--Research, Company Information, International Business, and Economics.

Periodicals:
The CBR has one of the most extensive business periodical collections on Long Island, including general business, trade magazines and academic journals. Trade magazines cover a specific industry and provide up-to-date information on trends, forecasts, and new developments and products within that industry. Periodicals are a great source for current information.


When you have completed your research, you may want to refer to a style manual available in the Reference Department or from the Citation Style for Research Papers web page.



Nancy Marino &
Linda McCormack
cbr@cwpost.liu.edu

Long Island University

C.W. Post Campus

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