Business research is a field of practical study. Researchers examine financial data, consumer feedback, trade publications, SWOT analyses, and reports and profiles to compare companies and industries, identify potential areas of growth, meet consumer needs, and improve a company's position in the market.
Financial data is qualitative and quantitative information (sales reports, SEC filings, stock values). By reviewing financial data, managers can make strategic decisions about staffing, locations, and production.
Consumer feedback is gathered through case studies, focus groups, surveys, and questionnaires. It provides valuable insight into whether products or services match consumer needs.
Trade publications are magazines, journals, or newspapers geared to professionals in a specific industry. They report news and trends, but not original research. They may provide product or service reviews, job and training listings, and advertisements. They are not typically peer-reviewed.
SWOT analysis is a process undertaken by a single company or organization, to identify its internal strengths and weaknesses, and external opportunities and threats.
Reports and profiles on companies or industries are conducted by third-party research consultants. They incorporate SWOT analysis, sales reports, market values, and five forces analysis to produce a comparative report on the company or industry's potential for growth, leading competitors, and predicted trends.