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Finding company information can be used in many different ways:
- Market research: finding our which companies are the key players in an industry can be the first step towards a more analytic industry research
- Consumer issues: finding company information about their products can help in collecting information about consumer behavior
- Competitive intelligence: finding information about who's doing well and what's been done in a business sector can help in doing marketing research.
- Job search and interview preparation: gathering information about companies who are hiring and active in sectors of interest can help put the finishing touches on interview preparation.
Company information in the Library
You can use the library databases to find company reports and profiles:
ABI/INFORM Global This link opens in a new window
ABI/INFORM Global offers business and financial information for researchers at all levels. It includes in-depth coverage from thousands of publications, most of them in full-text.
Coverage includes business conditions, management techniques, business trends, management practice and theory, corporate strategy and tactics, and competitive landscape.
Business Source Premier This link opens in a new window
Business Source Premier is the industry’s most used business research database, providing full text for more than 2,300 journals, including full text for more than 1,100 peer-reviewed titles. This database provides full text back to 1886, and searchable cited references back to 1998. Business Source Premier is superior to the competition in full text coverage in all disciplines of business, including marketing, management, MIS, POM, accounting, finance and economics. This database is updated daily on EBSCOhost.
MarketLine Advantage This link opens in a new window
MarketLine publishes business information about industries, companies, and geographies. The content is produced by an internal team of analysts, drawing on primary and secondary research, and great emphasis is given to the accuracy and validity of data.
Nexis Uni This link opens in a new window
A comprehensive spectrum of over 11,000 full text sources, including: national and regional newspapers, international news, U.S. Federal and state case law, codes, regulations, legal news, law reviews and international legal information. In addition, it includes business news journals, company financial information, industry and market news.
Statista This link opens in a new window
Statista provides users with an innovative and intuitive tool for researching quantitative data, statistics, and related information.
It covers a wide variety of industries and consumer demographics. Country coverage focuses on Europe and other developed countries, but data related to emerging countries can be found too.
Types of Companies
When researching for company information, the first step is to determine if you are investigating an American company or an international company.
For American companies, a key point to consider is whether the company being researched is private or public. This largely determines the amount of information available, i.e. public companies must make their financial information publicly available, while private companies do not.
If it is a public company, go to the annual report to shareholders. The annual report is perhaps the best single source of information on a company, but keep in mind that it is written partially as a promotional tool by the company itself and is not an entirely unbiased source. Annual reports appear as parts of various database services, and many companies provide annual reports on their websites or will send out paper copies on request. When you are on a company’s website, look for a link labeled Investor Relations.
Private companies are not required to file annual reports, although some will publish reports as a promotional tool. These private company annual reports are virtually impossible to obtain except from the company itself, and all information in such a report must be treated cautiously. Business directories provide basic information on private companies, such as number of employees and annual sales estimates. Lastly, search local or regional newspapers for information on local and private companies.
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