Using Business Source Complete

Published: Nov 30, 2010
Last Updated: Jun 7, 2017

One of the key resources available to business researchers is Business Source Complete (BSC), an online database of scholarly articles, industry reports, company profiles and much more. If you've never used an online research database before - BSC can be a little intimidating at first. Here are a few steps to get you started, and advice on how to make the most of this key resource.

Before getting started, however, it's important to know what to expect from Business Source Complete - and also to understand the differences between Business Source Complete and Business Source Premier - two similar versions of the database.

BIG: Business Source Complete:
"Business Source Complete exceeds all other databases available in terms of its premium content of peer-reviewed, business related journals. Included as part of the comprehensive coverage offered by this database are indexing and abstracts for the most important scholarly business journals, dating back as far as 1886." - from
Larger public libraries and universities are most likely to offer Business Source Complete.

MEDIUM: Business Source Premier:
"Business Source® Premier, the industry's most popular business research database, features the full text for more than 2,200 journals. Full text is provided back to 1965, and searchable cited references back to 1998." - from
Small/medium size public libraries and colleges are more likely to offer Business Source Premier.

That's a lot of information - Access to so many journals and magazines (in addition to industry reports, company reports and much more) is where BSC can really help you with business research.

  • Reading industry and company reports is a great way to familiarize yourself with the competitors.
  • The Harvard Seminar Series videos allow you to sit-in on a business lecture delivered by Harvard professors.
  • Access trade / industry journals related to your business - without expensive subscriptions.
  • Find a few 'peer reviewed' journals that you find interesting. With thousands of journals and magazine available, you're sure to find some that match your interests. Here is a complete listing of the journals/magazines available through Business Source Complete.

More realistically, however, you might just need to find a quick article or story on a single issue. If this is the case, BSC features search boxes that allow you to sort through all of the resources it has to offer. Here is a brief video that can help walk you through your first few search attempts:

EBSCO, the provider of Business Source Complete, has also created a tutorial video that offers advise on how to use its databases.

That all sounds great - now how do you access Business Source Complete (or Premier)? 

Unfortunately, as a paid-subscription based service, you won't be able to have access the database through Google or another search engine.

Fortunately, many public libraries subscribe to the database, as do academic institutions - and will provide the service to visitors (either in person or online). Visit the website of your local public library, college or university to see if they offer this database. Of course you can always visit the library in person if you have more questions or are more comfortable receiving in-person assistance - they'll be happy to show you.

For more information about accessing Business Source Complete and other databases that your library has to offer, be sure to read our earlier entry: Researching Library Resources from Home.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo balance sheet ok created by Phillipe Put on Nov 11, 2008, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Last viewed on Nov 30, 2010.