GBA 3013: Introduction to Academic Research (Leung)

An overview of library resources for academic research in business disciplines.

Library Database vs Website

What is the difference?

From a user's perspective, the main difference between a library database and a website is access

  • Library databases are available to users affiliated with UTSA, such as currently registered students, faculty, and staff through the library website. Most UTSA databases are available remotely with your abc123 login.  Visitors can use most databases, but only onsite on library guest computers.  
  • Websites (or certain sections of websites ) are accessible at any time to anyone and may be found through a web search. Some websites host open access databases which are available for free. Many kinds of websites are very important in business research, for example, government websites (,, etc.), company's investor pages, open access resources, news, some commercial sites, and many more. 

More about library databases

A library database is a licensed online source of information and data that is organized, indexed, and searchable via an internal search engine. Library databases provide vetted, credible information which is typically not available for free on the Internet. 

Databases may include different types of content, such as:
  • Full-text:  articles from scholarly journals, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers; e-books; different types of reports; etc.
  • Specialized databases: statistics and data; mapping tools; standards; specialized business tools, including company, industry and market research reports; psychology tests; government regulations; and more. 

Databases differ widely in terms of navigation and content and often get updated without a warning.  The best way to learn how to use a database is to use it for research!

Why is it important?

Knowing how to navigate databases and relevant websites will save you a lot of time when you work on research projects for your classes! In addition, these research skills will translate well into your career as many future employers use commercial versions of the same resources. 


Literature Searching

Aggregated Full-Text Databases

Provide many types information in multiple formats from 3rd party providers.  May include articles from peer-reviewed journals, trade publications, magazines, newspapers, reports, videos, etc.

Publisher Platforms

Citation Managers

Boolean vs Natural Language Searching

Originally, databases required the use of Boolean operators to run queries:

  • AND - requires all keywords to be present
  • OR - allows any of the keywords to be present
  • NOT - excludes the keywords from search

Advances in web searching led to natural language searching, even in some databases. Boolean operators may be implied or not required.  Searching in databases is more structured, with fewer results and less "noise." 

After you run your search, look out for filtering options to narrow down your search.