Skip to Main Content
Login to LibApps

ENG 302: Business Writing

Guide to library resources for the ENG 302 Business Writing Program


The focus of the proposal, report, and presentation assignments used in the various sections of ENG 302 varies widely, so the material presented here is meant to cover a broad range of information. The research needs that have been identified are for information on companies, industries, intercultural communcation, and topical issues.

Related Aids

Journal Title Lookup - If you already have source citations for the articles you want, or you just want to browse a specific journal, magazine, or newspaper title, use this lookup tool to see if ASU owns the title you need and how to access it.

Comparison of Article Types - See this for an explanation of how to distinguish between popular magazines, trade journals, and scholarly/academic journals.

Identifies the classification codes used for industries in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico since 1997. Directories often make use of industry classification systems to categorize companies by what they do.

Professional Reading

To keep up with the profession, it is helpful to routinely browse the journals in your area of business.  Here are some selected titles that can be browsed online:

ENG 302 - Business Journal Titles 

Proposals, Reports, & Presentations - Where to find supporting documentation

Business Articles -- Use business databases to find articles in business journals and magazines.

  1. ABI/Inform  (database-ASU access only)
    Accesses articles from over 1,100 English-language periodicals worldwide covering business, management, and related areas. Includes academic journals, trade magazines, the Wall Street Journal, dissertations, and industry reports.
  2. Business Insights: Global  (database-ASU access only)
    Formerly known as Business and Company Resource Center, it covers articles in academic business journals, trade magazines, and regional business newspapers.  Also includes investment reports, industry reports, and company histories.

Newspaper Articles -- Local newspapers are an ideal source of information on local companies, industries, and issues that you would not find in business journals and magazines written at the national and international level.

  1. Access World News  (database-ASU access only)
    Searches english-language newspapers and newswire services from around the world.  Includes many local Arizona papers, except for the Arizona Republic.
  2. Arizona Republic (database-ASU access only)
  3. Nexis Uni  (database-ASU access only)
    Covers articles in trade magazines, broadcast transcripts, newspapers and newswire services.  The majority of newspapers are in English but many foreign-language papers are included as well.
  4. Phoenix Business Journal (electronic journal-ASU access only)
    Reports on business news for Phoenix and compiles an assortment of local business rankings in its Book of Lists. Change the city selection to view news from any of the Journal's sister business newspapers from 37 other U.S. cities.
Other Useful Sources -- Some topical research may not be specifically business related and may require looking at other types of article databases. Here is a sampling to choose from.

  4. ETHICS  
    • iPoll Databank  (database-ASU access only)
      Covers U.S. opinion polls from various organizations and is the only source for Roper polls.
    • Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center  (database-ASU access only)
      Provides pro and con opinion pieces.
    • Polling the Nations Online  (database-ASU access only)
      Covers U.S. and international polls taken from many sources, including Harris and Gallup.

It is important to know if a company is private or public. There is limited financial information available on private companies and that is mostly found in Mint Global.  If the company is a division or subsidiary of a public company, you will probably have to look under the parent company's name to find any financials.

  1. Business Insights: Global (database-ASU access only)
    Covers only larger companies, generally those having at least $500,000 in sales. Searches for a company by name to bring up a "Company Profile" that pulls together basic company information, news articles, corporate history, financial summary, rankings, lawsuits, product brands, and related industry reports as available. Selected companies also have a SWOT analysis linked from the profile.
  2. Nexis Uni - Company Dossier   (database-ASU access only)
    Pulls company information together from many sources and displays the results in an organized report. Includes relevant patents and any legal litigation. Provides financials and SEC filings for public companies.
  3. Mergent Intellect (database-ASU access only)
    Formerly known as Hoover's Online, this database searches companies by name, type of business, and location. Provides only summary financials for public companies but the business descriptions for the larger companies include a nice business history and summary of current operations and prospects.
  4. Mint Global (database-ASU access only)
    Provides financials and official filings for public companies and some financial information for private companies. Includes MarketLine company reports for selected companies.

These summaries provide background information on the major industries.  For smaller sub-industries, either look for information on the broader industry or try some of the other sources of industry information listed at

  1. First Research (database-ASU access only)
    Profiles 600 U.S. industry segments and 300 global industry segments with some specific data for Canada. Also includes North American state and province profiles and an industry prospector for selecting and ranking industries based on 48 metrics.
  2. Gale Industry Encyclopedias in Business Insights: Global  (database-ASU access only)
    Formerly known as Business and Company Resource Center. Use the Industry search option to browse the list of reports or search by the NAICS industry code. Or use the keyword search box at the top right and then select Industry Profile in the filtering options on the left side of the results page. 
  3. Mergent Online (database-ASU access only) 
    Click on the Industry Analysis tab. Use the search form options to select the desired industry and region.
  4. S&P Industry Surveys (1998+) in NetAdvantage (database-ASU access only)
    Click on the Industry Survey tab.
  1. Bureau of Economic Analysis  (online)
    Provides U.S. economic data.
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics  (online)
    Covers inflation, prices, spending, time use, employment, pay & benefits, productivity, and workplace injuries.
  3. Census Bureau  (online)
    Offers survey data on people, households, business, and industry.
  4. International Trade Administration  (online)
    Shows data on U.S. trade with other countries.
  5. ProQuest Statistical Insight  (database-ASU access only)
    Identifies the widest range of statistical data coming from private organizations, commercial publishers, state and federal government sources, and international agencies. Some of the actual statistics are included in the database, especially those from the Statistical Abstract of the United States.  

    Most of the remaining sources cited can be found on microfiche in the IIS or SRI microfiche collections. A scan of the full text of the microfiche document can be requested through Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan  Be Sure to use the year and the IIS or SRI numbers listed in the abstracts. U.S. government sources without full text and sources whose abstracts indicate they were not filmed would have to be found by searching the online catalog for material that ASU owns. What ASU does not own may be requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Intercultural communication research looks at the differences in communication, behavior, and social expectations between cultures. The best resources for identifying these differences in various countries as they relate to the business environment. 

Recommended steps to finding information on business customs in other cultures

  1. Find Cultural Overviews - search ABI/INFORM or Business Insights: Global for articles on your chosen country's culture and customs. Using the country common name and the culture (China, Chinese) and then the specific type of culture issue of interest to you, for example:  gift giving, greeting, etiquette, etc.
  2. Compare Cultures - A useful tool for highlighting the cultural differences between two countries is Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions  Follow the link to the Hofstede website and select a country to see how it scores on Hofstede's five cultural dimensions (Power Distance Index,  Individualism,  Masculinity,  Uncertainty Avoidance Index, and Long-Term Orientation). Scroll down for a more detailed explanation. Then select a second country or even a third country to compare it with.    
  3. More Resources - For more in-depth analysis and discussion of a country's business culture and intercultural management challenges, use the Library One Search to look for books and articles using the country common name and the culture (China, Chinese) and then the specific type of culture issue of interest to you, for example:  gift giving, greeting, etiquette, etc.

Yardstick Reports

A yardstick report proposes multiple solutions to the same problem. The length of the report depends on the number and complexity of the solutions to the problem. Yardstick reports are as long as they need to be to cover all the points required in the report. Some might only be 1 page others might be 3-5 pages or longer. It depends on how much information you can find on your topic problem and how many solutions there might be available. Yardstick reports are primarily internal documents and not usually available to the public.

General outline:

1. State the problem clearly and any conditions or other factors that impact the problem.

2. Describe each possible solution including advantages and disadvantages.

3. Provide the criteria to use to pick the best solution from the possibilities.

4. Compare the possible solutions to the criteria.

5. Come to a conclusion and make the recommendation.

Be sure to include any charts or graphs that illustrate one or more solutions.

The executive summary is a statement of the problem, a synopsis of the potential solutions, and recommendations. The details are in the full report.

Sample Yardstick Report: 

     Ontario Energy Board, Yardstick Task Force. (1999). Report of the Ontario Energy Board Performance Based Regulation Yardstick Task Force. 

Suggested  strategies to finding a topic for your Yardstick Report

Basically, find an organization that is facing a struggle where there are multiple ways forward. Be sure to follow your instructor's directions, above all.  If you are not given any topics to choose from, we recommend scanning through Wall Street Journal There are instructions to set up an ASU account or you can use the New York Times ( Web only ) or the New York Times (Academic Group Pass) There are instructions to set up an ASU  group pass account.

Maybe you can choose a company that is facing a drop in demand due to COVID-19, such as Corona Brewing, or a retailer that normally operates in shopping malls. 

Or an oil & gas company struggling because of low oil prices.

Or Major League Baseball.

Just scan the headlines in business publications and you will get some ideas for topics. CNBC, CNN, and other online news sources might help as well.

For more articles, use the ABI/INFORM CollectionBusiness Insights: Global. or the other sources listed above.  Search by organizational name or the issue/problem facing the organization. Remember to use the DATE LIMIT to get the most recent articles.

Caution: Avoid larger/broader issues, such as homelessness or climate change, which make it more difficult to find information for your locality. These issues are so broad that finding a more narrowed focus, given the assignment timeline, may prove too difficult. 

The ASU Library acknowledges the twenty-two Native Nations that have inhabited this land for centuries. Arizona State University's four campuses are located in the Salt River Valley on ancestral territories of Indigenous peoples, including the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and Pee Posh (Maricopa) Indian Communities, whose care and keeping of these lands allows us to be here today. ASU Library acknowledges the sovereignty of these nations and seeks to foster an environment of success and possibility for Native American students and patrons. We are advocates for the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge systems and research methodologies within contemporary library practice. ASU Library welcomes members of the Akimel O’odham and Pee Posh, and all Native nations to the Library.