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SMU Libraries

Accounting Research Navigator: 5 Key Steps to Research

Research guide on accounting related resources

5 Key Steps to Research

Step 1: Choose and Brainstorm Your Research Topic

When you have a research topic, the first task is to brainstorm.  Ask yourself: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?  Answering these questions helps narrow the topic and identify issues.

Step 2: Define your Research Focus

Let's assume that your professor has asked you to analyze a publicly listed company for recommending an investment action, e.g. to buy, sell, or hold the security.

After brainstorming, you decide to research Singapore Airlines Limited, a publicly listed company in Singapore.

Step 3: Make a List of Keywords and Concepts

In addition to a list of keywords and concepts, an outline of your paper is highly recommended.  These help you organize your thoughts and develop an information searching strategy to formulate search strings.  Below are some key areas that you will typically investigate:

  • Company background and profile
  • Company's prospects and managerial effectiveness
  • Company’s corporate governance practices
  • Company’s corporate actions and key projects: past and future
  • Company’s financial performance and accounting treatments of certain key financial statements items
  • Industry performance and peer comparison
  • New/existing regulations and policies that may affect the industry

Step 4: Use SMU Library Search to Find Research Resources

As listed in the previous tabs of this Guide, the Library has different databases, journals, books, and recommended Internet sources to serve your information needs.  Each source gives you relevant information to build up a concrete analysis.


If you are not familiar with the airline industry, handbooks and textbooks are often good reference sources.  Some current titles include:

For more titles, please check the library search.  Suggested subject headings include airlines and aircraft industry and Singapore Airlines.

If you need books to learn how to evaluate stocks, below are some current suggestions:

For more titles, please check the library search.  Suggested subject headings include investment analysis and corporation -- valuation.


Below are some databases that provide you with relevant information.

Orbis, Capital IQ, Emerging Markets Information Service (EMIS): Company profile, financial information, company research reports, and peer comparison.

Eikon, Capital IQ, Orbis, Fitch Connect, EMIS, and MarketLine Advantage: Industry overview and industry research reports.

Bloomberg and Datastream: Time-series stock and financial data.

Eikon, SDC, Bloomberg, and MarketLine Advantage (Click "Browse" at the top left of the database homepage and then click "Financial Deals" to continue): IPO and M&A data.

Factiva: News covering company and industry performance, major corporate events, changes of company management, competitor actions, impact of political and economic conditions, changes of industry regulations, etc.

EBSCOHost, ProQuest, and SMU Library Search: They are search platforms that allow you to search for journal articles across multiple databases.

CEIC and SingStat Time Series Online: Singapore economics data.  For details, see Research Guide: Economic Statistics.

For a more comprehensive list, please refer to the Databases page of this guide.


The following e-journals are available in the e-Journals collection.

For more titles, please check e-Journals.  Suggested keywords for title search include airline and airlines.

InK (Institutional Knowledge at SMU)

InK provides records of research and scholarly publications (books, journal articles, book chapters, conference papers. etc.) by SMU faculty.  A suggested keyword for relevant titles is aircraft*.


Company Website: Corporate responsibility, corporate data, shareholding information, financial results, annual reports, operating statistics, news, etc.

ISCA: Singapore Airlines Limited prepares its financial statements of the Group and the Company in accordance with Singapore Financial Reporting Standards (FRS), which are issued by ICPAS.  You might want to refer to FRS and comment certain financial items, such as Intangible Assets, Impairment of Assets, Leases, Goodwill, etc. to account for any adjustments in your analysis of the groups’s or company’s financial performance.

Websites Containing Singapore Economic Statistics (see Research Guide: Economic Statistics): The statistics are provided by different Singapore government bodies for free. The information helps you conduct macroeconomic and industry analysis.

Step 5: Analysis and Synthesize the Information to Formulate your Viewpoint and Recommendation

Now you should have relevant data and information from books, research reports, databases, journals, and websites to determine a company's value as well as project its future performance and earnings.  You might use spreadsheets and statistical software to analyze financial data, spot trends, develop forecasts, and measure financial risks.  You then put all your findings and analysis together on a report and make recommendations to investors whether they should buy, sell, or hold the stocks of Singapore Airlines Limited.




Library search test

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy