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FENT 235: Foundations of Family Enterprises

A research guide to help you find information at the duPont-Ball Library which you may use to ace your research projects.


Welcome to the course guide for FENT 235. This guide describes databases and search tools that you can use to find information at the duPont-Ball Library and on the web, as well as search tips and information about library services.  

Database Best Bets for Family Business Research

Databases for Credible Sources

These databases have credible sources but are not necessarily academic (or peer-reviewed).

Source Evaluation and Comparison

Here we will compare an academic article versus a newspaper article. These are two credible sources on the subject but they are vastly different.

Leadership, Culture, and Family Dynamics Paper Instructions

The purpose of this assignment is to formulate and express your understanding of the uniqueness of the culture underscoring family businesses. Create a well-organized, formal document that applies the 3-circle model of family businesses to an organization of your choice. Be sure to discuss leadership and ownership with respect to specific roles (i.e., select a firm that you have enough information for and/or can find relatively easily).
Formatting Requirements:
Your paper should be formatted with at least the following parameters:
• 12 pt. Arial or Times New Roman font
• Page numbers
• 1” margins
• Double line spacing
• NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION (select a pseudonym that you inform the TA of when you submit the soft copy)
The document should be no more than 5 pages excluding references, which must be in APA format, along with the in-text citations (staple pages together if submitting in person).

Empirical Research explained

Empirical Research is based on observed and measured phenomena. It is research that derives knowledge from actual experience rather than from theory or belief.

To locate empirical research in the library's databases, look for the article to mention a study, an observation, an analysis or a number of participants or subjectsWas data collected, a survey or questionnaire administered, an assessment or measurement used, an interview conducted? All of these terms indicate possible methodologies used in empirical research.

 Empirical articles often contain these sections:

  • Abstract ... A paragraph length description of what the study includes.
  • Introduction...Includes a statement of the hypotheses for the research and a review of other research on the topic.
  • Methodology ...A description of how the research was conducted, such as:
             Who are participants
             Design of the study
             What the participants did
             What measures were used
  • Results...Describes the outcomes of the measures of the study.
  • Discussion...Contains the interpretations and implications of the study.
  • Conclusion...Sums up the argument and the most salient points. 
  • References...Contains citation information on the material cited in the report. (also called bibliography or works cited)

The sections may be combined, and may have different headings or no headings at all; however, the information that would fall within these sections should be present in an empirical article. Other synonyms for these types of articles will be "scholarly, peer-reviewed, or refereed" articles

Definition of a literature review

A literature review is a comprehensive summary of previous research on a topic. The literature review surveys scholarly articles, books, and other sources relevant to a particular area of research. The review should enumerate, describe, summarize, objectively evaluate and clarify this previous research.  It should give a theoretical base for the research and help you (the author) determine the nature of your research.  The literature review acknowledges the work of previous researchers, and in so doing, assures the reader that your work has been well conceived.  It is assumed that by mentioning a previous work in the field of study, that the author has read, evaluated, and assimilated that work into the work at hand.

A literature review creates a "landscape" for the reader, giving her or him a full understanding of the developments in the field.  This landscape informs the reader that the author has indeed assimilated all (or the vast majority of) previous, significant works in the field into her or his research. 

Review articles. Sometimes categorized as a literature review in a database, a review article is a survey of articles on a topic with findings summarized. This provides the reader with the current state of research in a field or research area.

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