Bridging the business data divide: insights into primary and secondary data use by business researchers
Lowry, Linda Darlene
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Academic librarians and data specialists use a variety of approaches to gain insight into how researcher data needs and practices vary by discipline, including surveys, focus groups, and interviews. Some published studies included small numbers of business school faculty and graduate students in their samples, but provided little, if any, insight into variations within the business discipline. Business researchers employ a variety of research designs and data collection methods and engage in quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The purpose of this paper is to provide deeper insight into primary and secondary data use by business graduate students at one Canadian university based on a content analysis of a corpus of 32 Master of Science in Management theses. This paper explores variations in research designs and data collection methods between and within business subfields (e.g., accounting, finance, operations and information systems, marketing, or organization studies) in order to better understand the extent to which these researchers collect and analyze primary data or secondary data sources, including commercial or open data sources. The results of this analysis will inform the work of data specialists and liaison librarians who provide research data management services for business school researchers.