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COMMERCE 1GR0 - DeGroote Student Experience and Development I

Welcome to COMMERCE 1GR0. This page will provide you will several resources related to the 1GR0 modules.

What is Information Literacy?

Information Literacy is ...

"a set of abilities requiring individuals to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate and use effectively the needed information.” - 2000
"the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning"- 2015
Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)

"knowing when and why you need information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner” - 2004
"the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use.” - 2018
Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP)

Information Sources

Understanding how information is created, how it is delivered, and how it changes over time, can help you become a better researcher. It will help you to understand what information is available when, and it will help you to find specific types of information sources (or information formats).

Different information sources will be useful for different information needs. Often an assortment of sources will be needed to address a single question. 

There are two main types of sources - primary sources and secondary sources.

Primary sources ...

  • contain first-hand information, created by someone with direct experience
  • do not analyze or interpret other materials

Listed below are some common types of primary sources used in business research:

  • interviews
  • surveys
  • focus groups
  • observational research

Secondary sources ...

  • contain second-hand information, taken from someone or something else
  • describe, summarize, analyze or evaluate information in primary source materials or other secondary sources

Listed below are examples of some of the most common types of secondary sources used in business research (those with hyperlinks identify the general characteristics of those sources types). 
Cover Images of Common Secondary Sources in Business [click to enlarge image]

  • articles from periodicals 
    • newspapers
    • magazines (popular)
    • trade journals (or magazines)
    • scholarly journals (academic)
  • Video books
  • company reports
  • country reports
  • data or statistics
  • directories (& other reference materials)
  • industry reports
  • investment reports
    also known as analyst reports, broker reports and equity reports
  • market research reports
  • SWOT analyses reports
  • videos
  • web pages



  • Primary and secondary sources can vary by discipline and context. Generally speaking, in Business, if you didn’t witness or create the information yourself, consider it a secondary source. 
  • Information format (or source type) and physicial format (or mode of access such as online, print, microfilm) are often conflated, but they are separate entities. A scholarly journal article available online or in print is the same source type even though its mode of access is different. In other words, mode of access is not a source type in and of itself. 

Knowing the type of information needed and where it can be found is a critical research skill.  Some of the best search tools for finding information from a variety of sources are library catalogues, discovery servicesdatabases and web search engines. The best search tools for selected  source types are noted in the table below (bold = best bet). 

To Find ... Search ...
articles from all types of periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers) Databases Discovery | Web
books Catalogue | Discovery | Web
company reports - annual reports, profiles, financials, etc. Databases | Web
country reports Databases | Web
data or statistics Databases Web
directories, dictionaries and other reference materails Catalogue | Web
industry, investment, market research and SWOT reports Databases | Web
periodical titles - journal, magazine and newspaper titles Catalogue | Online Journals
videos Catalogue | DatabasesWeb 
web pages Web

The Library's online subscription resources (e.g., databases, online journals, e-books) will prompt you to submit your MacID credentials. Once you do, you will be able to connect, search and view these online resources anytime, anywhere.

The Library subscribes to hundreds of databases which can contain full-text articles (from academic journals, popular/trade magazines & newspapers), company profiles, financial data, industry reports and/or statistics. Some of our most popular business databases include:Top Business Database Logos

  • Business Source Premier
  • Conference Board of Canada eLibrary
  • CPI.Q (Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly)
  • DBRS Morningstar
  • EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit)
  • Factiva
  • IBISWorld
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Academic
  • Mergent Online with Investext
  • Nexis Uni
  • Passport
  • ProQuest One Business
  • Statista
  • Value Line Investment Survey
  • Web of Science
    and more ...

These and other frequently used business resources can be accessed from our Top Business Databases guide, as well as from the Discovery, Catalogue and Databases options on the Library's home page. 

The Library has also developed several business related research guides that highlight resources for specific courses and for finding specific types of information (e.g., company financials, industry reports, SWOT analyses, etc.). Consult these guides or ask library staff for resource recommendations. 

Searching for Information

Once you breakdown and identify the key concepts or themes of your topic, develop a list of keywords that describe your main concepts.
When you have your concepts and keywords established, you can combine them into a search string using Boolean operators and modifiers.


Too MANY Search Results? Too FEW or NO Search Results?
  • reconsider topic - may be too general or too broad
  • add more concepts (e.g., AND)
  • remove unwanted keywords (e.g., NOT)
  • reduce the number of alternate keywords (e.g., OR)
  • filter by date, language, source type, geography and other criteria (if available)
  • limit results to specific fields (e.g., title, subject)
  • reconsider topic - may be too specific or too new
  • check spelling 
  • try wildcard symbols in keywords (e.g., *)
  • add  alternate keywords (e.g., OR) 
  • check that search syntax is being used correctly
  • try a different database or search tool
Try using this research worksheet to help plan and  organize your search strategy.

Evaluating Information

Citing Information

Right Quotation Mark from The Noun ProjectCiting sources is an important part of research and information literacy. 

Why Cite?

  • to give proper credit or acknowledgement to the works of others
  • to distinguish your ideas and contributions from those of others
  • to support your analysis
  • to put your interpretations into context
  • to document sources used
  • to let readers locate, verify and consult the sources used thereby supporting further study, analysis and conversation