To some extent, your search for information is an attempt to see what’s out there—to identify the literature that exists. Nonetheless, your search is likely to be more effective if you have a sense of what would best serve your needs.
Ideally, what would you like to find? At a minimum, what do you need to have? In particular, are you looking for
- Overviews that synthesize basic information about the subject
- Overviews that present several different perspectives on the subject
- Descriptions of processes (“five steps to outsourcing payroll operations”)
- Information about a particular company (as an innovator, a work setting, or an investment opportunity)
- Information about a particular industry, country, or region (as a market, a source of labor, a regulatory environment, etc.)
- Lists of advantages and disadvantages (or costs and benefits) associated with a particular option or strategy
- Studies that show the impact of one factor (introduction of flex time, transition from salary to commission payments, implementation of a new type of web site, etc.) on another factor (job satisfaction, revenue, profit, customer loyalty, etc.)
- Studies that show the magnitude of various effects (“We know that these factors all influence holiday spending, but which have the greatest impact?”)
- Numeric data that describe a trend or support a position
- Typologies or classifications (“four types of retail clothing shoppers”)
- Perspectives of individuals with a particular set of experiences (surveys, focus groups, interviews, etc.)
- Primary historical documents that report on a particular event or trend.