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University of Texas Libraries
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Find Background Information & Statistics
Start by finding broad overviews of your chosen commodity. These sources are good for background knowledge, keyword brainstorming, identifying important names, dates, and events, identifying various aspects of your topic, narrowing your topic, and finding other sources using the bibliographies presented at the bottom of entries.

Keywords and Database Search Strategies
How to Generate Keywords

  • Use this online tool to create an effective keyword search for your research topic
  • Email the results to yourself
  • Then launch that search in the Library Catalog (to find books) or Academic Search Complete (to find popular and scholarly articles)

Keywords brainstormed in class

Find Articles
Start here: www.lib.utexas.edu > Research Tools > Find Articles Using Databases


  • Academic Search Complete, - magazine, journal and newspaper articles
  • Google Scholar - use Google to search for scholarly articles.  Access it through the Libraries web site in order to use Libraries subscriptions instead of having to pay for sources.
  • JSTOR - scholarly articles, mostly retrospective (meaning mostly not current)
  • LexisNexis Academic : Find local, state, national and international news articles.
  • ScoUT - searches much, but not all, of the Libraries materials at once.  After you initial search, use the limiters on the left to narrow your search.


Where is the article?
If the article isn't full-text in the database you are searching, click Find it at UT to find it online or get it scanned and sent to you.  If it says "Sorry, this article isn't available online," click "Get a Scan" to get the pdf sent to you from our print collections or a partner library.  This service is free but requires that you set up an account.
Find Company and Industry Information
To research your supply chain, you'll need to know more about the companies that produce the product and the industry as a whole.  These business-specific databases are helpful.

  • Business Source Complete :  In addition to business news articles and research articles, you can find industry and country reports.
  • IBISWorld - This does not tell you about international companies, but it does tell you about the consumer market in the United States (the last stop on the supply chain).  Search for your product and it will tell you the industry it is a part of.  Sometimes your  product will be the subject of the whole report and sometimes it is a subset of the industry but there isn't really a way to drill down further.  Use the tabs to find out more.
  • MarketLine Advantage:  Find information about foreign companies and industries.
  • Mergent : Find information about US companies
Find Books
  • Searches books in all campus libraries
  • To find a book on your topic, start with the Keyword search.
  • When you find a good title, follow the subject headings for more books on the topic.
  • Searches the full text of books provided by publishers and libraries. 
  • If you find a book you like and the full text isn't in GoogleBooks, search the Library Catalog for the title to see if we own it.
Find Articles tutorial

Google Search Tips
Narrow your results using these tips:
  • Search for an exact phrase by putting your search terms in quotation marks (ex: “commodity chain”)  
  • Search only a specific site (ex: usda.gov) or domain (ex:.org) by typing in your search followed by site:.org, site:.gov (ex: coffee imports site:usda.gov)
  • Eliminate results from a specific site (ex: .com) by typing in your search followed by -.com
Find Primary Sources
 Here are a few sites you may find primary sources (reports, policies, laws, statistics) about forced/child labor or human trafficking in your country to compare to the TIP report for your country:
  • humantrafficking.org - use the left hand navigation to select your country; includes explanations of laws and initiatives (in English but not word-for-word translations) from your country and links to relevant agencies in your country, some of which are in English
  • Pages for Embassies to the US - English language information from the embassy of your country - if it isn't linked here, Google it
  • International Labour Organization - not a source from your country but may have information about your country
Evaluate Websites, Books and Articles
  • Evaluate Books and Articles - this decision tree helps you evaluate scholarly and non-scholarly books and articles
  • Evaluate Web Sites - use these criteria to evaluate web sites 
  • Ulrichsweb - use this database to look up a publication (magazine, newspaper or book) and learn more about it - often includes reviews
Get Help
Contact the course librarians:

Elise Nacca

Michele Ostrow

IM a Librarian  
Monday-Thursday, 10am - midnight
Friday, 10am - 4pm
Sunday, 6pm - midnight