This guide provides information sources to help you complete an empirical research paper in Economics. It focuses on using library resources to write a literature review and to find the data you need to conduct quantitative modeling and empirical analysis.
Use the links below to navigate to the different sections of this guide.
- Finding Journal Articles in Primo and Narrowing your Topic
- Surveying the Literature Using Databases
- Resources on Writing a Literature Review
- Data and Statistics
- Retrieving Time Series Data from Datastream
- Citing Sources
Finding Journal Articles in Primo and Narrowing your Topic
Example: You are interested in doing a research paper on monetary policy and want to find some empirical research articles for reference.
- Go to the library homepage
- Click on Books & articles on the left side
- Type in the keyword “monetary policy” into the search box under Primo Search
- Click on Search Primo
- Conduct Primo Advanced Search which allows you to use Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine or exclude keywords in a search, resulting in more focused and productive results.
- Monetary policy is a broad topic. You will get too many results. On the result page you can refine results. Select Articles under Resource Type and click on Peer-reviewed under Show only if you want to read high quality scholarly articles.
- You may also limit search by subject. In this example, you are looking for empirical papers. Click on Subject, and then click More Options. Include Economic Models and click Continue. This may help narrow your search.
- You may also look through the titles on the result page. The titles containing “effects”, “empirical research”, “empirical analysis”, “approach”, “models” are mostly articles that contain an empirical application.
- Video tutorial: Getting great results: narrowing your search
- Provides tips on how to narrow down large sets of results to find what you need for your research project.
Surveying the Literature Using Databases
- To access a database:
◦ Go to the library homepage
◦ Select the Databases: subjects & titles tab to the left side of the site
◦ Enter in the database name in the search box
◦ Click on Search and select a database that matches your request
◦ Click on Connect to resource
◦ Off-campus Laurier Network Login will be required for authentication
2. Key databases for searching for journal articles:
- Contains scholarly, trade, popular and news titles, many of which are available in full-text or full-image. Search with keywords related to your research. You may limit search to full text and filter by subject, geography, date, etc. located on the left side of the search result page. Video tutorial: How to Search ProQuest Databases.
- EconLit (via ProQuest)
- Provides citations and full-text content for more than 400 economic periodicals, as well as books, book chapters, dissertations, reviews, conferences and working papers.
- A single-access search gateway to the full text of online journals published by several major academic journal publishers. Search with keywords related to your research. Click the link to subject terms below an article title to find more articles grouped under a specific subject quickly.
- Comprehensive database, with citations and full-text content, for leading business journals including scholarly, trade, popular and news titles. Search with keywords related to your research. On the search result page, click on Subject: Thesaurus Terms on the left side to filter your search by subject. You may also limit search to full text and filter by geography, date, etc. located on the left side of the search results page.
- Allows users to search for scholarly articles, conference proceedings, and books. You can set up your own personal Google account and set Google Scholar preferences on your home computer. When off campus you will see "Get it @ Laurier" links to some of the contents on Google Scholar. It means you can search Laurier's journal subscriptions through Google. You don't have to sign in with your Laurier account each time.
- Academic OneFile is a source for peer-reviewed, full-text articles from international journals and reference sources. Coverage includes Economics and finance.
3. Search Tips:
- Boolean Operators: AND OR NOT
- AND requires all terms joined by it to appear in the document which narrows your search. E.g. Philips Curves AND inflation; OR requires at least one of the terms joined by it to appear in the document in any order which broadens your search. e.g. Consumer Price Index OR CPI; NOT excludes documents containing the term(s) following it. e.g. GDP NOT Canada
- Video tutorial: Better Searching Using AND, OR, NOT
- Truncation symbols *
- enable you to search for variations of a word. Enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end. Examples: econom* = economy, economics, economist, econometrics, econometric, etc.
- Wildcard symbols ! ?
- substitute a symbol for one letter of a word; useful if a word is spelled in different ways, but still has the same meaning. Example: Labo?r = labour, labor
- Quotation marks “ ”
- require words to be searched as a phrase, in the exact order you type them. Examples: “exchange rate”, “Gross Domestic Product”.
Resources on Writing a Literature Review
- Tips for searching, analysing, and organizing sources for your literature review.
- Written by Dena Taylor, Health Sciences Writing Centre at University of Toronto.
- An Example of Literature Review
- Fadeyi, O. A., Ogundeji, A. A., & Willemse, B. J. (2014). Establishing the linkages between the south african agricultural trade balance and macroeconomic indicators. Agrekon, 53(4), 92-105. Access this article, download it and see Section 3 Review of Relevant Literature.
- Includes Evaluating resources: checklist and video tutorials to help you identify peer-reviewed journal articles on a topic.
- The writing center program offered by Center for Student Success at Laurier can help you enhance your academic writing including literature review. You may book an appointment with the writing tutors.
Data and Statistics
1. Bank of Canada - Find banking and financial market statistics, surveys (e.g.) as well as policy papers.
2. CANSIM @Statistics Canada - Statistics Canada's key socioeconomic database. Contains thousands of tables and reports from all fields and provides fast access to a large range of the latest statistics available in Canada.
- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - FRED: Economic Data Provides historical U.S. economic and financial data, including daily U.S. interest rates, monetary and business indicators, exchange rates, balance of payments and regional economic data.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia - The real-time data set consists of vintages, or snapshots, of time series of major macroeconomic variables. New vintages are added shortly after the 15th day of the middle month of each quarter. Click the links in Historical Data section to download the full-time series of historical values.
- Bureau of Economic Analysis - Gives you access to national and state and industry economic data (e.g. gross domestic product).
- Bureau of Labor Statistics - Provides analysis as well as data for the labor economy as a whole, as well as by region, state, city and industry.
- Census Bureau - Makes available socio-demographic analysis and data for people and households as well as business industry.
- Data.gov - Easily find, download, and use datasets that are generated and held by the Federal Government.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States - A comprehensive collection of statistics in tabular format. Includes basic statistics for a wide range of economic indicators. Each table lists the source of the statistics for further reference.
- Survey of Current Business - Provides data on U.S. business on the regional, national, and international levels. Among statistical series covered are personal income, inventories and sales, national income and product accounts, FDI in the U.S., U.S. direct investment abroad, international transactions, and gross state product.
- IMF Data and Statistics (data on IMF lending, exchange rates and other economic and financial indicators)
- OECD iLibrary (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development)
- World Development Indicators (World Bank) Select countries, series and time, then click the Apply Changes button.
- UNdata (Statistics from all the major UN sources)
- UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)
- Pacific Data Service (high frequency foreign exchange rates)
Using Datasets from Published Papers Provided by Journal Websites
including Journal of Applied Econometrics and Journal of Business & Economic Statistics
- Go to the library homepage
- Click on “Journal titles” on the left side
- Enter in the journal title in the search box
- Click on “Search by title”.
- Click on the journal title that matches
- Select the databases with the right coverage (look at the year(s) listed in the "Available from" field)
- Click on “Full text from” to access a database
- Search the article title using “search within this publication” feature, or browsing by volume and issue number depending on which database you have access to.
Retrieving Time Series Data from Datastream
Key data sets from Datastream include equities, market indices, bonds, warrants, unit trusts and commodities. Company accounts are available for some 12,000 companies. Also provides access to over 200,000 international macroeconomic time series for around 175 countries (includes IMF and OECD data). The Datastream work station can be accessed in the Waterloo Campus Library on the third floor outside office 3-310.
(includes search samples for exchange rates, stock market index and commodity prices)
The Citing Sources Guide available at Laurier Library includes different citation styles and tips on how to cite by subject including data and statistics.
* One-on-One research consultation with the subject librarian is available. Use the contact information of the subject librarian on the right side of this site to book an appointment.