Business, Finance and Economics

This subject guide is designed for individuals studying and researching management, economics, finance, accounting, international business, and marketing topics. The guide provides details of key resources for finding information and data, including links to training and user help guides; advice on effective searching, including using Google to find grey literature and tips on keeping your research up to date.

Getting Started

Most courses will have a reading list to guide you. Follow the link from your course Moodle, or search Reading Lists. If you have never used the reading list system before, you may want to refer to this guide which will show you how to search for reading lists, how to link to online material, find print books in the library and add your own notes to items on the list.

If you are not working from a reading list, use Library Search to find books, journal articles, book chapters, trade literature and many other types of information. Library Search lets you search most of what the library buys or licences. It is the main way to find books and is a useful starting point for finding information for assignments or independent research. Use this guide on using Library Search for help on searching and useful features.

Information sources for business research

Although Library Search is an excellent starting place to find books and journal articles, no single search engine or database indexes all the information sources you are likely to need for assignments, a dissertation or research project. You may need to use a variety of search tools to find the different types of information you need for assignments or to answer a research question.

Databases provide access to unique information not included in Library Search or on open web search engines. They have value-added features to help you find related literature and to keep your research up to date. They are important when you are doing a literature review or a systematic search of the literature.

All the databases that the library provides access to, are listed on the databases page. You can search for a specific database by name or use the subject listing if you do not know what database to use. Here are a few tips on how to select a database.

The lists below provide information on key databases and websites, listed by the types of information common in business research. The list includes access information, a description of the content and links to guides and videos on using the databases or search tools.

Finding and using secondary data

A guide for Social Science students on how to find and use secondary data. Information includes: sources on doing secondary data analysis – case studies, videos and practice datasets; ethical considerations when using secondary data; advice on getting started using data from the UK Data Service; lists of major national and international databanks and key open-source data; specialist collections of data (subscriptions available from the University of Glasgow) including data on countries, demographics, companies, consumers, markets and industries; and information on finding sources of data from published literature.

Information on software for statistics, analysis and visualisation which is available on PC's and remote desktops, or can be downloaded to your own device. SAGE Research Methods - Datasets is a collection of practice datasets to help you with qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Search, or browse by method, discipline, or data type.

Grey literature (working papers, theses, and organisational information)

Grey literature is broadly defined as documents which are not controlled by commercial publishers. This can include material produced by governments, academics, businesses, and organisations. You can search for government information using keywords on generic search engines or on government websites themselves. Similarly, working papers, theses, business, and organisation information can all be searched using a generic search engine, searching specialist repositories, or by going direct to the organisation or company web site. Guide on searching Google, including for policy and organisational documents.

Some grey literature is indexed in subject-specific databases e.g., policy papers, business reports, speeches, and videos. There are also some open access grey literature databases, e.g., Open Grey.

Useful websites for working papers:

  • NBER Working Papers - NBER (National Bureau of Economic Research) Working Papers aim to make results of NBER research available to other economists in preliminary form to encourage discussion and suggestions for revision before publication in scholarly journals.
  • RePEc - Research Papers in Economics – index of working papers and other economics research
  • SSRN - The Social Science Research Network consists of an Abstract Database containing abstracts on over 148,100 scholarly working papers and forthcoming papers and a full-text Collection currently containing over 117,200 downloadable full text documents.
  • IMF Research - Working papers, reports, and data from the International Monetary Fund.
  • Bank of England Research - Working papers, data, and research from the Bank of England.
  • ECB Working Papers - Working papers from the European Central Bank.

Useful websites for theses

See the library web pages for information on accessing print and digital theses by University of Glasgow authors, as well as links to EThOS, the national these service for the UK’s doctoral research theses. Find out where to access theses worldwide and how to apply for access to international theses not available via these services.

Managing information, including referencing

Processing information

LEADS provide academic writing and study advice for UG and PGT students. These include how to engage with literature structure essays and form arguments. Classes run throughout the semester, and you can attend as many or as few as you want. They also provide courses and online resources for PhD and MRes Students on research integrity, managing research data as well as tailored courses for social scientists.

Managing information (referencing)

Referencing is the acknowledgement of items you have read and used while creating a written piece of work. When writing an essay, report, or dissertation, you must cite the sources you use, paraphrase, or quote from.

Citing accurate references is important:

  • To give credit to concepts and ideas from other authors
  • To provide evidence of the extent of your reading
  • To use other work to support the arguments you make
  • To allow your reader to locate cited references easily
  • To help you avoid plagiarism

There are links to reference style guides on the library pages.

LEADS run academic writing classes designed to help students understand referencing and incorporate sources into written assessments.

EndNote software can be used to manage and cite information. It is available on the university staff and student standard desktops, and you can also download it for free onto your own device.

Training on EndNote is available through IT Training. Support for EndNote is provided by the IT Helpdesk. EndNote also provide their own online training.

Keeping up to date

It is important to keep up to date with published literature and information in your research area, but this can be challenging as the information ecosystem is vast and there is so much information being created, shared, and published. There are tools that you can use to help.

  • Twitter and blogs. Even if you don’t tweet, you can use Twitter to follow people that publish or talk about things related to your research or study. You can subscribe to blogs so that you receive new posts.
  • Table of content (TOC) alerts Set up TOC alerts for the journals that publish in areas relevant to your research or that have been recommended to you. See JournalTOCS.
  • You can set up search alerts in databases so that new content matching your search is emailed to you. This is a common feature in research databases.
  • You can also set up citation alerts so that you receive notification when a document or article is cited. Databases like Scopus and Web of Science have this feature. You can also do this from some publisher’s websites.

Guides on searching

Getting started with literature searching – how to start your literature search and where to find previous dissertations.

Selecting key discovery tools for business research – matching search tools to information needs; finding high-quality journal literature and links to citing papers and related literature; specialist databases: advanced searching on Google and using Google Scholar.

Effective searching: Boolean, search operators and complementary search techniques – how searching works; effective techniques and an introduction to controlled vocabulary, database thesauri and complementary search techniques.

Google searching and Google Scholar settings a guide on how Google searching works; using search features for effective searching and refining search results; Google Scholar settings for full-text access and exporting citations.

Critical appraisal tools for evaluating information sources.

Further help

Information outside of our collections

You may need to use sources that are not available in our collections. You can request journal articles using our Article Reach service; and books, book chapters and journal articles via Inter Library Loan (ILL).

You can also suggest resources and books for the library, using our suggestion form. College Librarians have a budget to support materials required for research.

Using other libraries

You may be able to use other libraries (perhaps close to your home or place of residence), using the SCONUL Access scheme.


For undergraduate and taught postgraduate students (Masters level) - Email for help or book an appointment with the College Library Support Team.

For doctoral students and staff, please email