Making Subject Headings work for you – targeting your search using the Thesaurus in ProQuest and Ebsco

Are you having trouble finding relevant articles in your database search results? Are you struggling to identify the right keywords to define your topic? The Thesaurus could help!

It might sound like something out of Jurassic World, but a database thesaurus is actually a searchable list of the ‘controlled’ subject headings used by that database. These standardised headings are used ‘tag’ articles to help you find what you want. Since terminology can change from country to country and over time, these standardised subject headings can pick up articles which you might miss when you think of your own keywords. The Thesaurus will also show you broader, narrower and related terms which can help to guide your search.

So, for example, if you look up ‘Strategic Management’ in the ProQuest Thesaurus, you’ll find ‘Corporate management’ as a broader term and ‘Balanced scorecard’ as a narrower term. You’ll also find related terms such as ‘Enterprise risk management’, ‘Market strategy’ and ‘Strategic planning’. You could add some or all of those terms to your search to find articles you need.

ProQuest has made a short video to help you find and use the Thesaurus. It’s well worth a look!

The Thesaurus in Ebsco’s Business Source Complete works in a similar way. There’s a guide available with more help and information.

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please get in touch with us at

Have I got (business and economics) news for you?

As a student of business or economics it is essential that you keep up-to-date with the lastest news on your topic. We provide access to several resources that can help you with this.


NexisUK (Swansea University login required)

NexisUK is a database of international quality newspapers including the Times, Guardian, Independent, Le Monde, Die Zeit, Australasian Business Intelligence, International Herald Tribune, South China Morning Post, Moscow Times . It contains newspapers from the early 1990s to the present.

Why use it?

  • The user can cross-search several newspapers at once.
  • The databases provide full text articles free of change, no need to register.
  • The user can easily limit a search by journalist’s name, language, country or a single newspaper title.

The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. It provides essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community.

Make sure that you get full access to articles, comments, alerts and tools available from the FT. Go to and register using your Swansea University email address.

The Economist

The Economist is a weekly magazine covering business, finance, economics, science, technology and the arts. Articles from The Economist can be found in the ProQuest Business Collection.

ProQuest Business Collection (Swansea University login required)

As well as containing articles from the Economist ProQuest Business Collection provides access to other news items. Search using your keywords then refine by ‘Source Type’ on the right hand side of the results page.

Get access to NexisUK and the ProQuest Business Collection via the business and management iFindResearch page.

Get the intel on Mintel! (And other sources of market research information)

Have you used Mintel, our fantastic source of information for marketing research, yet? If not, or if it’s been a while, take a look at the brand new video tutorials  now available on the Mintel help pages. The videos cover the following areas:-

  • Category Overviews

Useful if you want to browse the most recent content by Sector, Theme or Demographic

  • Added Value Content

This is good if you want to find out about those ‘added extras’ which are available in Mintel, like Webinars, Analyst Insight and Quarterly Updates

  • Creating Email Alerts and Saved Searches

Shows you how to set up a profile so you can keep up to date with the latest content in your areas of interest

  • Creating Report Graphs

Who doesn’t love a graph? This video shows you how to create one from a table of figures

  • Finding What’s Available in Your Subscription

Shows you how to check which Mintel content is available to you (Swansea University subscribes to the following industry categories: e-commerce, food, leisure, technology and drink)

  • Running a Search

Does what it says on the tin! Tips for searching Mintel content

  • Structure of a Report

Highlights the key features of the Mintel reports so you know where to find the information you need

The videos are particularly useful if you’re using Mintel Oxygen, which is great for finding independent market research reports containing analysis, commentary and data. At Swansea University, we also have access to Mintel Market Sizes, where you’ll find data on industries and countries, including market size, market share and forecast data for thousands of consumer goods categories worldwide.

Although Mintel provides our specialist market research database, you may also find relevant reports on two of our other key databases, EBSCO Business Source Premier and ProQuest Business Collection. For help finding market research reports via these sources, check our guide on Blackboard under the heading ‘Can’t find the market research you need on Mintel?’.

All four databases are available off-campus as well as on-campus, so you’ll always have a wealth of marketing information available at your fingertips!

Exploring one of our top resources: Proquest Business Collection

Screenshot of the Proquest logo

One of our top business resources is Proquest Business Collection. Easy to use, it makes finding scholarly journal articles as fast and straightforward as Googling (or faster: the quality of results is guaranteed so no need to analyse the source).

Under the hood, this is actually the following distinct databases:

So as well as a strong coverage of business topics, it is also a good bet for anything in the specific areas mentioned above. We have our own guide to the database (PDF) but to get the most out of it, try the in-depth resources that Proquest themselves provide:

Detailed User Guide (PDF)

YouTube playlist of videos that cover every aspect of the interface. Most of the videos are under 2 minutes long. Try using the thesaurus to help you find the best search terms for your topic:


or the Advanced Search for power-searching tips:


Note: The Business Collection shares the same interface as other Proquest subject resources (e.g. ASSIA) so the Proquest guides refer to the general interface, not the business collection specifically.

Country information: comparing web resources (so you don’t have to!)

If you need information, facts and figures on a specific country there are plenty of sources out on the web, some more reliable than others. We also have subscription resources which require a login but have reports not available for free on the web.

Taking the example of Sudan, we have compared what you get. Is it worth a few extra steps to access the subscription content? (Spoiler alert: YES! Read on and find out why…)

As a specific comparison figure, we have extracted the population figures from all resources where given. Interesting to see how widely this varies!

Resources from the open web

  • The American CIA World Factbook has long been considered a reliable source of country information – its entry on Sudan contains facts and analysis under headings Geography, People and Society, Government, Economy, Energy, Communications, Transportation, Military and Transnational Issues. Population 35,482,233 (July 2014 est.)
  • The World Health Organization has a country profile for Sudan which includes more health-focussed information and risks. It estimates the 2012 population at 37,195,000.
  • The World Bank also has a home page for Sudan which has a financial slant and links to their work with Sudan. They cite a 2012 population estimate at 37.20 million.
  • The major accountancy firm KPMG also have online reports including this one on Sudan. It has a lot of detail and dates from 2012. Population given as 34,206,710 (July 2012 est.).
  • Wikipedia: the profile of Sudan is extensive and can be a valuable starting point. However, you should not use Wikipedia as an academic source or reference – follow its footnotes to find more credible sources or verify the information elsewhere. Anyone can edit a Wikipedia page (try it yourself if you have knowledge of a particular topic!). Population is given as 30, 894, 000 citing the 2008 census and acknowledging that this has been disputed as a precise estimate.
  • The BBC has its own Sudan country profile with an overview, facts, media, leaders and a historical timeline. It is useful as it links to its own recent news stories on a country. Population is given at 45.7 million (UN estimate 2012) which seems very large in comparison with all other sources and may be unreliable in this instance – always worth checking more than one source!

Subscription Resources

In comparison with these, you can find extensive country profiles in our EBSCO Business Source Complete database. To find a country report in EBSCO, the following search is recommended:

  • Enter the country name as a search time and change “Select a field (optional)” to “TI Title”
  • Limit the search by date to most recent years
  • Limit the search by “Source Type” to “Country Reports”
  • Change the sort order of results to “Date Newest”

Screenshot of EBSCO BSC showing search filters applied


Is it worth the extra effort to search EBSCO? The Political Risk Yearbook report for Sudan is 39 pages long and dates from November 2013. As well as the usual facts and figures (population given for 2012: 37.20 million) it has sections on “Comment & Analysis”, 3 “Forecast Scenarios” based on political changes that could occur, 5 pages of detail on “climate for investment & trade”. So this is a much more extensive, current and researched resource than those available freely on the web – the reason why these reports are only available on subscription via the PRS Group.

Proquest Business Collection also has a series of Country reports, available only on subscription: find these by clicking on “Browse” then expand the “Country Reports” section:

Screenshot of Proquest showing Browse link to Country Reports


The individual collections listed here are all worth exploring for a specific country but some countries are not covered in all collections. In the case of Sudan:

  • Oxford Economics Country Economic Forecast has one from Oct 2013, 6 months ago. This is a 4 page economic forecast that looks ahead to 2016 with analysis and figures. (There is no Oxford Economics By Country Industry Forecast for Sudan – only selected countries are covered for this category).
  • The EIU reports do not include Sudan.
  • Oxford Analytica Daily Brief Service has many short items on Sudan indexed by industry and topic but these are not that current (2012 is the most recent) and are often not specifically on Sudan.
  • Oxford Analytica Country Profiles has one that is 2 months old (Jan 2014). It gives a population of 25,946,220 (July 2012).


EBSCO’s Country Reports are by far the most comprehensive option for authoritative country information with additional forecast information from Proquest also proving useful. It is worth noting that not all the subscription sources cover all countries – Mintel Global Market Navigator is another resource we have for country economic data but does not include Sudan.

The web resources listed are useful but basic – the CIA World Factbook is possibly the most reliable & recognized one to cite for an assignment.


Commodity Reports in Proquest Business Collection

Proquest Business Collection has a series of commodity reports, useful for forecasting prices, future consumption and supply of raw materials and foodstuffs. Find them via the “Browse” link:

Screenshot of Proquest showing Browse link and Commodity Reports link

If you find a useful report, here is an example of how to reference it using APA 6th:

Economist Intelligence Unit. (2013). World Commodity forecasts: food, feedstuffs and beverages, March 2013. Retrieved from Proquest Business Collection

  • The author is a corporate author as no individual was named on the report
  • The title includes the exact month of the report
  • The URL is the home page of the database NOT the URL for that specific report
  • The reference should be double-spaced with an indent to be strictly correct but WordPress’ blog editor wouldn’t oblige!