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Hospitality and Tourism

This LibGuide is to help students of Hospitality and Tourism studies at NC Community Colleges

The Hospitality and Tourism Guide for NC Community Colleges

This guide will help you find resources about the hospitality and tourism industries. Each resource will have a description of its content to help you choose what is best for your needs. If you have any questions, or need help with any resource on this guide, please ask a librarian directly. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of pages to see all of the resources in that section. There are also links for citation help and instructions to help you develop skills in Advanced Search.


Getting Started with Research


Research can be intimidating when you first start. One thing to remember is that there is no one, true path to research. You can start in many different ways, and still have success at the end. However, there are suggestions that can help with getting started, especially if you don't know much about your subject, and are having trouble deciding on a class project. The next section on Research Help can give you some tips on how to search through different databases and websites on your subject, and how to narrow down the options if you are looking for a particular subject. If you are confused about what each of the resource sections are, below is a list and descriptions to help you decide.

Using Google Search

One of the first places most people search for information is Google. There is nothing wrong with this, especially if you are just starting, or are exploring subjects for your project. However, once you have a focus for your research, it will usually be faster and return more trustworthy options if you use the resources listed in this Guide. The librarians have worked with the professors to make sure the resources provided here are the most helpful for a variety of research needs. If you still feel more comfortable using a Google search, make sure to consider the accuracy and source of anything you are planning to cite in your paper or presentation for class, especially from social media such as Facebook or Twitter. Feel free to ask any of the librarians, or you can ask your professor about information found in a general Google search, to get more guidance on any issues with using these resources.

Choosing a Resource

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias -

Dictionaries list common terms and definitions, and industry dictionaries can help you define your search for article and topic search using Advanced Search options. Like Wikipedia, general encyclopedias will give you background information on a wide variety of subjects. Wikipedia is a valid resource to start with, but it and other encyclopedias should be starting points, not the end of your research. Use these sources to get a better idea of the subjects and terms common in an industry or business. Always check with your professor before using Wikipedia as a citation source; many professors do not accept Wikipedia as a resource to use for paper or presentation citations.

Media -

Videos, both streaming and DVDs, can be useful for helping to illustrate concepts that are difficult to grasp in written form, such as customer service or marketing techniques. Elements of the hospitality, travel, and event planning industries often use video, and it can be an important part of your research. It is recommended that you examine the source of the visual media, especially if you find videos on social media such as YouTube. As always, ask a librarian or your professor if you have questions about using a source for citation purposes.

News Databases -

Databases are collections of resources. News databases will include newspapers that are focused on local, national or international newspapers. These sources can be used for up-to-the minute information of a variety of businesses and topics, but you need to be sure to check currency (the publication date) of the information you are using to make sure it is appropriate for citation in your project or paper.

Article Databases -

Journal articles will give a more in-depth review of narrowly focused topics than newspapers. Articles can be peer-reviewed, which means their content has been reviewed by other writers and researchers in the field. Journal articles need to be checked for currency, but can still be useful if they date five to seven years in the past. Articles will also list citations at the end, which can be a good source for finding more information on your topic.

Government resources -

Information found on government databases will generally be very reliable, and can be useful for citation purposes. These resources include a wide variety of statistics that supply information on an industry's past and future trends, and consumer use patterns. They are often the basis for industry graphs and charts. When using government statistics or data, it can be hard to find useful information in a readable form. Look for summaries and indexes on the home pages of these databases to find easier-to-read formats.

Industry resources -

Industry sources can be very helpful, especially when you want to find out what is currently important to companies and professionals in the business. Industry sources will often give business summaries that use a wide variety of resources, making it easy to find in one place. Be aware that industry websites can be both non-profit organizations, or for profit businesses. Many of these sites will only have certain information freely available, including news updates, while more detailed information will require membership fees. Many will also have advertisements as part of their website.

Research Help

Keywords can be used in general searches of encyclopedias and industry sources, as well as article databases. These keywords can also be combined to narrow down your list of resources. There are ways to combine keywords that will make your research efforts faster. Directions for how to use Boolean Search and some of the shortcuts when using keyword phrases for searching databases is found under the Using Advanced Search Options tab.


Keywords for Hospitality and Tourism

B&B or Bed & Breakfast

Hotel Management




Catering Management

Equipment & Supplies

Food Industry or Handling or Safety or Service

Menu Design

Restaurant Management or Marketing or Design

Business or Luxury Travel


Sports or Sustainable Tourism


Convention facilities




Risk Management

Special Events-Management

The Library of Congress subject headings are controlled lists of topics issued by the Library of Congress. They are used in most college libraries, as well as other types of libraries. Books and articles will be listed under multiple subject headings, allowing you to search for similar books and articles using those terms. You will see that list of subject headings in the bibliographical information in the library catalog. Usually, those listings will be hyperlinked, allowing you to click on them to see other books or articles that have been cataloged under the same subject heading. Many of these headings can also be used as a basic search phrase or keyword in most databases.

To help you get a better understanding of subject heading searches, click on any of the links below. Each link will open the Library of Congress page with a list of links to other similar subject headings. Those links will open a list of resources in the Library of Congress that have been cataloged with that subject heading. The same type of search can be done with subject headings for any library catalog, both for those using the Dewey Decimal System numbers or Library of Congress numbers. (Suggestion - open the link in a new tab for easier viewing.)

Subject Headings for Hospitality

Service Industries

Convention Facilities

Hospitality Industry

Allergen-free accommodations


Food Service


Park lodging facilities

Subject Headings for Tourism


Tourism - Economic aspects

Tourism - Environmental aspects

Tourism - Management

Tourism - Planning

Transportation - United States - Statistics


Cruise lines

Cruise ships

Ocean travel


Sustainable Tourism

Rural Tourism

United States - Description and travel

When searching for articles in databases, there are a number of options to help narrow your search. Advanced search allows you to combine keywords and phrases with publication date, type of resource, access to full text, and other requirements to give you a list of options that better fits your needs. Many of the advanced search options are easy to understand, such as limiting the range of publication date for articles (generally this can be typed in or done using a slider located on a sidebar). Other search techniques may need a bit of practice to become useful. The sections below give some suggestions for how to use Advanced options to make your research faster and produce better results.


Most Commonly Used Advanced Search Options

Boolean Search - This search allows you to combine keywords and phrases with the three 'operators' AND, OR, NOT. The operators tell the database how to use your search terms to narrow or widen your choices. The video below gives a short illustration of how each operator works when used on ProQuest, a commonly used article database.

Publication date range - This option allows you to focus on the years or months that an article was written and published that best apply to your research needs. Keep in mind that the article publication date does not mean that an article's study data was produced in that year. It will usually take 2-3 years to collate and write an article from field data. For most professors, they will want citations mainly from the last five to seven years, unless you are looking at the history of a topic.

Full Text only - This option allows you to limit the list of articles to those that have the full text available to be viewed immediately on the database, instead of just the abstract. This is a good option if you are limited to online access, or will have difficulty waiting to receive the full text through the librarian or author. You can request the library to access the full text of an article if it is not part of the database, and it will usually be available, but there could be a slight wait time to view it or receive access.

Type of Publication - For large article databases, you can choose between journals, newspapers, magazines, books, primary sources, or other resource types in the database.

Boolean Search and How to Use It

Boolean search combines words and phrases using words called operators, AND, OR, NOT in specific ways. Using these operators can help focus or define your search. (5 minute video above illustrates how to use boolean operators.)

  • AND - this operator is the most commonly used, and is usually the default option for most databases. Using AND will only return articles that include all of the words you typed into the search. A basic search assumes all words are connected by 'AND'. This search operator will narrow your options.

Example:  New York hotels will include only articles with New AND York AND hotels all included, and disregard any options that only have one or two of the terms

  • OR - this operator will widen your search. When connecting words, this operator tells the database to include all options that include each word individually in the text, giving you more options in your list of articles

Example: Colleges OR Universities will include articles with either of these terms, widening your search

  • NOT - this operator will narrow your search of articles, allowing you to exclude commonly connected terms when you only want one type.

Example: Apple NOT Fruit will exclude choices about the fruit, so that you can look for articles on the computer company


You can use several shortcuts when using keyword searches and boolean operators. As stated above, most databases assume the operator AND connects words typed as a phrase. You can also isolate phrases from other words and boolean operators, as well as search for a phrase as one term, rather than two words.

  • (Utah National Parks) NOT Arches  - the words in parentheses connected by AND, giving options including all of Utah's national parks except Arches National Park
  • "sustainable tourism"  - quotes will return only those options with the words side-by-side, not just those that include sustainable and tourism
  • decor*  - the asterisk indicates a search that includes words with multiple endings, such as decor, decorate, decorates, decoration, etc

Why use Citations?


All knowledge is built on earlier work. When you are doing research on a class project or presentation, you are using the work of past researchers to help you form your own knowledge and opinions. Crediting that work is done by using citations within your paper; not giving credit is considered plagiarism, which is a serious offense that can result in disciplinary action. Citing others' research does two things for your project - it gives credit to the authors of the work you are using, and it allows others to read your work and know the process of how you came to your own knowledge of the subject.

The easiest way to create citations is to save them as you research. Don't wait until you are writing your paper to save your sources. Instead, create a list of citations as you are taking notes or finding relevant information. Most online articles will provide a 'cite' or 'citation' option; this will allow you to cut/paste the citation in multiple formats (MLA, APA, Chicago, or others). If you keep a list of those citations as you research, it will be much easier to enter them into your paper during the writing process. There are also citation programs, such as NoodleTools and Word 2010 reference tools that allow you to generate a citation for later use in your paper. To use any of these tools, you will first need to decide on the Citation form that you will be using.

Citation Styles

The most common way to choose the citation style you need is to ask your professor. Most will have a preferred style that will need to be used. Some professors will give you a choice of citation style, and most disciplines will have a particular style that is preferred. In the list below are the three most common styles in use, and the disciplines that use them. Links to instructions on using each style is below (while this list may look like each style has the same information, the order of the information and what is in parentheses is different for each).

APA (American Psychological Association) - Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Behavioral Sciences; this style uses in-text citations within parentheses, and a 'Reference' list at the end.

Chicago Style - History, Business, and Fine Arts; this style has two forms, the Author/Date that is similar to the APA style, and the Notes/Bibliography style used in some disciplines, such as History. The Author/Date style is the most commonly used, and includes in-text citations in parentheses, and a 'Works Cited' or 'Reference' list at the end.

MLA (Modern Language Association) - Humanities; this style uses in-text citations within parenthesis, and a 'Works Cited' list at the end.