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*Business Research

A guide to research on companies, industries, economics, and finance.

Select a Topic

Getting Started with Company Research

Step One: Profile the Company

When researching a company, it is important to know whether it is publicprivate or a subsidiary of a larger company (see key terms tab). To get started with company research, click on one of the databases listed below:


Step Two: Find Current News and Scholarly Articles

Business magazines and journals provide added depth and insight into a company's operations, strategies, and competition. Find articles, industry profiles, SWOT analyses, and other in-depth reporting in these databases:


Step Three: Analyze Financials, Market, Competitors and Industry

Find information on competitors, industry trends, and market behavior to analyze the company's strategy and potential growth. 

HINT: Additional Information About Company Websites & Publications

A Company's own materials can provide information on its products, services, business operations as well as financial reports. Company financial reports are often located in the company's investor relations web page.

Getting Started with Career Research

Step One: Career Information

Step Two: Find News and Scholarly Articles

Step Three: Find Company and Industry Information

Consumer Research is the process of gathering and analyzing data on individuals and their relations to a specific market. This includes combining secondary and primary sources using information about your current and potential customers, industry, and competitors. Secondary sources involve using data that has already been collected (i.e. statistics or market research reports). Primary sources can be an important and time consuming process involving the collection of data from consumers using mixed methods, such as surveys, interviews or focus groups. 


Step One: Consumer Demographics

Step Two: Finding Statistics


Step Three: Finding Articles & News


Step Four: Finding Competitors & Industry Reports

Recommended Databases: Industry Reports and Trade Journals


Recommended Websites:


Recommended Books:

Recommended Databases:


Recommended Guide: Vintage Advertisements

Looking for vintage advertising campaigns? You'll find them in primary source collections. Historical newspapers, prints, and photographs can be found in hundreds of archives and museums across the country. Many of these collections have been digitized and can be viewed online.

What is Business Ethics?

Business ethics are standards of good practice, respect, responsibility, and fairness for individuals and corporations within the realm of business. There are numerous books, articles, even encyclopedias on the subject. Some of the most helpful resources are listed below.


Recommended Journals:


Recommended Databases: News & Reports


Business Magazines:

Recommended Databases:

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.

Public companies sell shares of the company (stocks) to the general public, and are required to submit financial information and annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.  Public companies are therefore easier to research as a general rule of thumb.

Private companies do not sell publicly traded stocks and as a result, are not required to release as much information to the government or the general public  They are therefore more challenging to research.

Subsidiaries of public companies can be difficult to research because the parent company is not required to report on each of them individually.  Therefore, when researching a subsidiary, you often have to read carefully through reports about the parent and look for references to the subsidiary.