Skip to Main Content

Business Canvas (Entrepreneurship) Course Guide

Use this guide to find information and research tools to explore topics related to entrepreneurship.

What Are Library Databases?

What are databases?

  • Online library resources that provide digital versions of:
    • newspaperse-document icon
    • magazines
    • scholarly/academic journals 
    • encyclopedias
    • data and statistics
    • business reports
    • video 
  • Available 24/7

How do databases work?

  • Choose a database. Login with your Western ID
  • Type your search term into the search box to bring up a list of articles, eBooks, etc.
  • Database features:
    • Email/share tools to send an article to yourself
    • Citation tools to copy/paste your citation at the end of a paper, but...
      • Sometimes a database citation will mess up the capitalization
      • Also double-check that the italics in the source title and database name pasted; fix if needed

Why should I use a database instead of the Web?

Library Database  vs. Google/Web

  • Library Databases
    • Free access to endless scholarly articles
  • Google /Web
    • Fnding the perfect article only to find out you have to pay ($35+) for access
  • Library databases
    • Content is evaluated for its credibility
  • Google/Web 
    • Content is not evaluate for accuracy and may be incorrect or misleading or biased
  • Library databases
    • Quicker and easier to sort your results and control the results you see - publication date, subject, content type, etc.
  • Google/Web 
    • Harder to sort results; you are left with what the search engine and algorithms decide to show you
      • "Ads" or "Sponsored" sites get top billing
  • Library databases
    • Content is stable. If it appears in a results you can use it.
  • Google/Web
    • Links can be broken or disappear or redirect you somewhere else

Short Video: Western Library Databases

Create a List of Search Terms

Search Terms

  • list iconcreate a list of search terms based on your assignment.
  • add to your list as you read (textbook, articles, websites) - jot down relevant terms to use in further searches


  • entrepreneur; entrepreneurship
  • customer segments; customer development; customer management; consumer
  • mass market; niche market; target market; market segments
  • distribution channels; indirect channel; direct channel
  • value; value proposition
  • revenue stream
  • fixed costs; variable costs
  • SWOT, SWOT analysis
  • management; manager; operations management; project management; strategic management
  • business; business model; business structure; small business; micro-business
  • product; services
  • company; corporation
  • personnel; employee; staff
  • profit; profit margin

Short Video: Searching Databases

This video below introduces basic and advanced search, strategies for developing a search, and some general research tips.

Basic and Advanced Searching

Basic Searching

At different stages in your search for information you will use different search strategies. When you're brainstorming to see what is out there, do asearch icon basic search. Enter a single word or a short phrase about your topic into the database's search box. Keep it simple: "pandemic," "college education."

Skim the list of articles that appear. Are there a lot of articles on your topic idea or just a few? How hard will it be to thoroughly research and write about this topic? If there are just a few you may want to choose different search terms. Look at your notes from the encyclopedia databases for ideas. If you still get too few results, you might want to change your topic. You're only at Step 2 in the research process so there's still time.

Advanced Searching

If you are looking for more detailed information about your topic, try one of these advanced search strategies.

  • Put quotation marks " " around a phrase - "college education." This forces the database to search for the phrase "college education," not the words "college" and "education" separately.
  • Put an asterisk (*), or truncator, at the end of a word will search for everything that begins with that group of letters in most databases
    • Example: comput* will return all words starting with four letters; computing, computer, compute, etc.  
  • You can also try a question mark (?) within a word to include multiple spellings
    • Example: wom?n will find both woman and women.
  • Focus your search by using Boolean operators; AND, OR,  NOT
    • Example: pets AND cats OR dogs, NOT hamsters
  • Some databases allow you to perform proximity searches
    • Example: the following phrase, movies w/3 drugs is searching for instances when the term movies is within 3 words of the term drugs. This method works well in a Google search.
  • Consider using alternate terms, or synonyms. for words,
    • Example:  society = culture, community, civilization, etc.
  • Broaden your search. If you don't find an article on your topic don't assume it hasn't been written. You might just be using the wrong terms or might be searching too specifically to find it. Try broader terms.
  • Look carefully at the results from your search. If there is a great article, look for the subject headings (often bolded) or a list of subjects. These are database-generated terms ("machine language"). Use these terms in future searches. 

Western Technical College

Western Technical College Learning Commons
Student Success Center, Room 201
400 7th Street North
La Crosse, WI 54601
State Relay: 711
EEO Statement

Learn more about Western and the Learning Commons.
The Learning Commons provides library and academic support services on campus and online. The Learning Commons will set you up for success!

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. For details and exceptions, see the Library Copyright Statement.
©2023, Western Technical College

If you are experiencing disability related accessibility issues with any information on this website, please email or call 608-785-9524.