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A Step-by-Step Guide to Using Academic Databases for Research

In the digital age, academic databases have become essential tools for researchers and students alike. With vast collections of scholarly articles, books, and other resources, these databases provide a wealth of information on various subjects. However, navigating these databases can be overwhelming for those unfamiliar with their functionalities. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of using academic databases effectively for your research needs.

Understanding Academic Databases

Before delving into the practical aspects of using academic databases, it’s crucial to understand what they are and how they differ from other sources of information. Academic databases are online platforms that host scholarly content such as journal articles, conference papers, dissertations, and more. Unlike search engines like Google or Wikipedia, which prioritize popular or general content, academic databases focus on peer-reviewed research conducted by experts in their respective fields.

These databases usually require a subscription or access through an institutional affiliation like a university or library. By restricting access to authenticated users only, they ensure the quality and reliability of the content available. Some well-known academic databases include JSTOR, ScienceDirect, PubMed, IEEE Xplore, and ACM Digital Library.

Selecting the Right Database

With numerous academic databases available today, it’s essential to choose the most appropriate one for your research topic. Each database specializes in certain disciplines or subject areas; therefore, selecting a database that aligns with your research interest is paramount.

Start by identifying keywords related to your research topic. These keywords will help you narrow down your search when exploring different databases’ offerings. For example, if you’re researching climate change impacts on biodiversity conservation strategies in marine ecosystems, relevant keywords could include “climate change,” “biodiversity conservation,” “marine ecosystems,” and so on.

Once you have identified your keywords and subject area(s), consult with librarians or experienced researchers who can guide you in selecting the most relevant databases. They can suggest databases that specialize in your field or those that cover a broader range of disciplines.

Conducting Effective Searches

After selecting the appropriate academic database(s), it’s time to conduct effective searches to find the information you need. Most databases offer advanced search options, allowing users to refine their queries and obtain more accurate results.

Start by entering your keywords into the search bar. To enhance your search results, consider using Boolean operators such as “AND,” “OR,” and “NOT” to combine or exclude specific terms. For example, using “climate change AND biodiversity conservation” will retrieve articles that contain both terms, while “climate change NOT marine ecosystems” will exclude articles related to marine ecosystems from your results.

Additionally, take advantage of filters and limiters provided by the database. These options allow you to narrow down your search based on publication date, author, journal name, and other criteria. Utilizing these features will help you focus on the most recent and relevant research within your field.

Evaluating and Accessing Sources

Once you have obtained a list of potentially relevant sources from your search, it’s essential to evaluate their quality before incorporating them into your research. Academic databases often provide information about each source’s credibility by displaying metrics such as citation counts, impact factors, and peer review status.

Consider factors such as the author’s expertise and affiliations, publication date (preferably recent), journal reputation (if applicable), and relevance to your research question when assessing sources. Additionally, check for any potential biases or conflicts of interest that may affect the objectivity of the research findings.

After evaluating sources for their suitability and reliability, access them through the database’s provided links or follow instructions for accessing full-text versions if available. Some articles may be openly accessible while others may require additional permissions or subscriptions.

In conclusion, academic databases are invaluable resources for researchers seeking reliable and up-to-date information. By understanding the basics of academic databases, selecting the right database(s) for your research, conducting effective searches, and evaluating and accessing sources, you can maximize the benefits these platforms offer. So, dive into the world of academic databases and unlock a treasure trove of knowledge for your research endeavors.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


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Accounting Research Journal

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Debt maturity structure, credit ratings and audit fees: new evidence

This research aims to revisit Gul and Goodwin (2010), which focuses on exploring the relationship between debt maturity structure, credit ratings and audit fees. Furthermore, the…

Remote auditing and its impacts on auditors’ work and work-life balance: auditors’ perceptions and implications

This paper aims to explore the impacts of remote auditing on auditors’ work and work-life balance.

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  • 23 Jun 2023

This Company Lets Employees Take Charge—Even with Life and Death Decisions

Dutch home health care organization Buurtzorg avoids middle management positions and instead empowers its nurses to care for patients as they see fit. Tatiana Sandino and Ethan Bernstein explore how removing organizational layers and allowing employees to make decisions can boost performance.

research article about accounting

  • 07 Feb 2023
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Supervisor of Sandwiches? More Companies Inflate Titles to Avoid Extra Pay

What does an assistant manager of bingo actually manage? Increasingly, companies are falsely classifying hourly workers as managers to avoid paying an estimated $4 billion a year in overtime, says research by Lauren Cohen.

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  • 13 Jan 2023

Are Companies Actually Greener—or Are They All Talk?

More companies than ever use ESG reports to showcase their social consciousness. But are these disclosures meaningful or just marketing? Research by Ethan Rouen delves into the murky world of voluntary reporting and offers advice for investors.

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  • 24 Feb 2022

Want to Prevent the Next Hospital Bed Crisis? Enlist the SEC

After two years of COVID-19, many hospitals still haven't figured out how to manage the overwhelming wave of patients that flood ICUs during each surge. Regina Herzlinger and Richard Boxer offer a novel solution. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

research article about accounting

  • 28 Feb 2021
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Connecting Expected Stock Returns to Accounting Valuation Multiples: A Primer

This paper introduces a framework to investors and researchers interested in accounting-based valuation. The framework connects expected stock returns to accounting valuation anchors. It can be generalized to evaluate an enterprise's expected returns, and can be adapted to correct for the use of stale accounting data.

Measuring Employment Impact: Applications and Cases

Employment impact-weighted accounting statements quantify the positive and negative effects of firm practices for employees and the broader labor community. This analysis of companies in different sectors shows how these statements are beneficial both at an aggregate and more specific level.

  • 02 Nov 2020

Accounting for Organizational Employment Impact

Impact-weighted accounting methodology standardizes previously disparate measures of impact, in this case the impact of employment. This paper’s methodology and analysis of Intel, Apple, Costco, and Merck shows the feasibility of measuring firm employment impact for insight into firm practices and performance. Closed for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 20 Sep 2020

Updating the Balanced Scorecard for Triple Bottom Line Strategies

Society increasingly expects businesses to help solve problems of environmental degradation, inequality, and poverty. This paper explains how the Balanced Scorecard and Strategy Map should be modified to reflect businesses’ expanded role for society.

  • 24 Aug 2020

Performance Hacking: The Contagious Business Practice that Corrodes Corporate Culture, Undermines Core Values, and Damages Great Companies

Performance hacking (or p-hacking for short) means overzealous advocacy of positive interpretations to the point of detachment from actuals. In business as in research there are strong incentives to p-hack. If p-hacking behaviours are not checked, a crash becomes inevitable.

research article about accounting

  • 27 Feb 2020
  • Sharpening Your Skills

How Following Best Business Practices Can Improve Health Care

Why do Harvard Business School scholars spend so much time and money analyzing health care delivery? Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 18 Feb 2020

A Preliminary Framework for Product Impact-Weighted Accounts

Although there is growing interest in environmental, social, and governance measurement, the impact of company operations is emphasized over product use. A framework like this one that captures a product’s reach, accessibility, quality, optionality, environmental use emissions, and end of life recyclability allows for a systematic methodology that can be applied to companies across many industries.

  • 16 Oct 2019

Core Earnings? New Data and Evidence

Using a novel dataset of earnings-related disclosures embedded in the 10-Ks, this paper shows how detailed financial statement analysis can produce a measure of core earnings that is more persistent than traditional earnings measures and forecasts future performance. Analysts and market participants are slow to appreciate the importance of transitory earnings.

research article about accounting

  • 28 May 2019

Investor Lawsuits Against Auditors Are Falling, and That's Bad News for Capital Markets

It's becoming more difficult for investors to sue corporate auditors. The result? A weakening of trust in US capital markets, says Suraj Srinivasan. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 22 Jan 2019

Corporate Sustainability: A Strategy?

Between 2012 and 2017, companies within most industries adopted an increasingly similar set of sustainability practices. This study examines the interplay between common and strategic practices. This dynamic distinction helps for understanding whether and how sustainability practices can help companies establish a competitive advantage over time.

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Financing the Response to Climate Change: The Pricing and Ownership of US Green Bonds

Green bonds are used for environmentally friendly purposes like renewable energy. Complementing previous research, this paper explores the US corporate and municipal green bond and shows that a subset of investors is willing to give up some return to hold green bonds.

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  • 03 Dec 2018

How Companies Can Increase Market Rewards for Sustainability Efforts

There is a connection between public sentiment about a company and how the market rewards its corporate social performance, according to George Serafeim. Is your company undervalued? Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 19 Nov 2018

Lazy Prices

The most comprehensive information windows that firms provide to the markets—in the form of their mandated annual and quarterly filings—have changed dramatically over time, becoming significantly longer and more complex. When firms break from their routine phrasing and content, this action contains rich information for future firm stock returns and outcomes.

research article about accounting

  • 24 Sep 2018

How Cost Accounting is Improving Healthcare in Rural Haiti

The cost of healthcare in rural Haiti was found to vary widely, even inside the same health organization. A pioneering cost accounting system co-developed by Robert Kaplan was called in to determine the cause. Open for comment; 0 Comments.

  • 14 Dec 2017

The Real Exchange Rate, Innovation and Productivity

Addressing debates on the effects of real exchange rate (RER) movements on the economy, this study examines manufacturing firm-level effects of medium-term fluctuations, in particular firm-level productivity across a wide range of countries. RER changes have different impacts depending on the export and import orientation of regions and the prevalence of credit constraints. Effects are non-linear and asymmetric, suggesting that the link between RER changes and macroeconomic performance might be much more nuanced than usually thought.

  • 31 May 2017

Stock Price Synchronicity and Material Sustainability Information

This paper seeks to understand and provide evidence on the characteristics of emerging accounting standards for sustainability information. Given that a large number of institutional investors seek sustainability data and have committed to using it, it is increasingly important to develop a robust accounting infrastructure for the reporting of such information.

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