Step 1 - Scope
Write down the initial scope of the task. Break down complex questions into multiple individual ones.
- What does the assignment tell you to include?
- What do you need to find out?
- What does your reader or listener need to know to understand the topic?
- What questions need to be answered?
Step 2 - Types of Sources
Make strategic choices to locate appropriate information sources. Business decisions are based on indicators of expertise in the subject matter and credibility. The mere presence of a source in Google results is not an indicator of authority, credibility, or quality. Look further.
- What interested parties might produce the needed information? Scholars? Organizations? Governments? Industries?
- What level of authority / credibility is required by your professor? Subject expertise (verifiable business expertise / scholarship)? Societal position (public office or title)?
Business decisions are generally based on trade information, government information, or scholarly information. This is what your professors prefer you to use.
- Is the article / book / website / etc. written FOR business professionals by qualified, experienced business professions (trade information)?
- Is the article / book / website / etc. written by a professor, researcher, or scholar (scholarly information)?
- Is the article / book / website / etc. written by a governmental organization or official (government information)?
- If the article / book / website / etc. is written for an audience of everyday people (Lonely Planet, for example), the information will probably not be appropriate for these assignments.
If you can't verify the source's authority and credibility, move on.
Information sources vary in content, relevance, and value, depending on the needs of your search.
- Try multiple sources - if one doesn't work, another might.
- Search as broadly and deeply as necessary to gather the needed information.
- Try Library sources before Google - the Library pays for your access because the good stuff usually costs money.
Match your topic to the sources below.
Step 3 - Searching
First attempts do not always produce adequate results; allow enough time and be persistent. Ask for help if needed.
- Brainstorm search terms using the questions developed in Step 1.
- Refine / adapt / change search terms and strategies based on the results.
- Seek multiple perspectives on the topic.
- Be prepared for your search result.
- Keep an open mind.
- Use phrase searching to get only results containing a specific phrase, such as "Hofstede's cultural dimensions". Phrase searching puts quotation marks around the phrase you want to find. Use only phrases your would read in an article or on a website.
- Insert AND between search terms to broaden the results if more are needed.
- Hofstede AND "uncertainty avoidance"
- "uncertainty avoidance" AND "South Korea"
- Change search terms to find more information.
- "organizational behavior" AND "global environment"
- "organizational behavior" AND globalization
- Maintain a log of the search terms used.
- reuse effective terms in other locations
- avoid unproductive repetitive searching
Country and Cultural Information
Business, Economics, & Politics
Step 4 Use the Information
A good business report or paper synthesizes the information, interprets its implications, and draws conclusions.
Organize the information in meaningful ways - check the assignment for clues from your professor.
- Can be organized by topics
- Can be organized chronologically
- What is most effective for your purpose?
Analyze the information gathered. Maintain an open mind and a critical stance.
- Is the information adequate to answer the questions posed in Step 1?
- Is every point of information relevant to the questions?
- Are there gaps or weaknesses in the information?
- Do you need additional information?
Synthesize information from multiple sources.
- Combine information from different sources that covers the same topic.
- Create a coherent narrative without being repetitive.
Evaluate and explain the significance of the information you presented.
- How does it answer the information needs?
- What are the implications of the information for the business matter at hand?
- What conclusions can be drawn that will inform decision making?
- What do the conclusions mean for decision making?
Step 5 Cite Your Sources
Information has value. Respect the original ideas of others; give credit to others through proper attribution and citation.
Argentina (Argentine Republic). (2015). In CultureGrams world edition. Retrieved from http://www.culturegrams.com/
Cite the CIA World Factbook:
Central Intelligence Agency. (2016). Brazil. In The world factbook. Retrieved from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/br.html
Cite a web site:
Global Affairs Canada. (2011). Overview – Brazil. Retrieved from https://www.international.gc.ca/cil-cai/country_insights-apercus_pays/overview-apercu_br.aspx?lang=eng