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Research Guide: SST 4992: Senior Seminar Corporate Research   Assignment

Assignment Directions: Select a company, corporation, or organization for which you have interest.  Research the company by using the resources from the Stewart Library, Career Library, on the Internet or by personally contacting the firm.  Use a minimum of four resources in your research.

Scope: This guide is a selected list of resources that will be useful for locating information on companies and industries. These resources include print materials available in the Stewart Library, and electronic resources, some of which may be available only to WSU students, faculty, and staff.

 

Table of Contents




Choosing a Company

If uncertain about which company to research, give one of these a try:
  • Price's List of Lists
    "A database of ranked listings of companies, people and resources freely available on the Internet."

Company Information

Detailed report including company overview, business description, history, competitors, and much more.

Provides direct access to Company Profiles, Industry Profiles, Country Reports, and Market Research Reports

  • International Directory of Company Histories Reference Table 6 HD2721.I63

Multi-volume print directory providing detailed history of the world's largest companies. These are regularly updated and currently contain in excess of 80 volumes.

  • Lexis-Nexis (Hoover's Company Records)
    Provides basic company information including company description, financial numbers, hiearchy, and more. To access Hoovers in the Lexis database, select the Business tab under the search toolbar, then enter the company name. Within the company profile there is a link for the Hooover's Company Records. 
  • Company Web Sites
    Useful for financial information, products, and services of the company. This information is usually from the company perspective and may be biased. The format of the website is: http://www.businessname.com (Example: http:www.dell.com). Many public companies will have links for investors where financial information may be found. There is also often a place for career and job information.
  • Hoovers Handbook of Private Companies Reference Table 6 H4057.A1H662

Contains profiles of 900 of the lagest private companies in the U.S.

  • LexisNexis Corporate Affiliations Reference Table 6 HG4057.A219
    Useful for finding parent companies of divisions, subsidiaries and affiliates for private and public companies. Includes addresses, number of employees, names of top executives, and indexes by geographic location, type of business, and brand names.

Profiles and financial information of public companies.

  • Mergent Online
    Financial profiles of U.S. and Internal publicly-traded companies. Coverage includes history, property, subsidiaries, officers, directors, long term debt, capital stock, news, income statement, balance sheet, statements of cash flow, ratio analysis, basic directory information, and more.

Contains full text analysis of many publicly traded companies. Information includes Morningstar Ratings, strengths and weaknesses, financial statements, SEC filings.

  • Yahoo Finance (http://finance.yahoo.com)
    Contains extensive stock and other financial information for publicly traded companies including stock history, SEC filings, Competitors, income statements, and balance sheets.
  • Ward's Business Directory of U.S. private and Public companies Reference Table 6 HG4057.A575
    Contains a directory of public and private companies. Companies maybe located by name, geographic region, and industry classification codes.



Industry Sources

These sources will give you an overview of the industry.  Some sources cover all industries, and other cover specific industries. 

Provides access to industry information for stocks and mutual funds. Reports available for a variety of industries and companies.

  • Mintel Market Reports
    Includes a wide range of reports on U.S. and international markets. The reports inlcude: Automotive, Beauty and Personal, Clothing, Beverages, Electronics, Health and Medical, and Travel. The user is required to create a login profile before initial use.

A directory of manufacturers of a number of products.


Databases

These database may be helpful for finding news on your company or industry. This can be especially helpful if you are looking for marketing or management information. The Advanced Search option in the article database allows you to limit your searches in areas such as company name, industry classification codes,and other areas.

 

This is an article database containing academic quality publications in the areas of management, marketing, accounting, and economics. The Company profile tab gives detailed information on a variety of companies.

  • ABI/Inform

This is divided into three article databases:

Similar to Business Source Premier providing academic quality publication in areas of management, marketing, economics, and accounting. Includes access to the Wall Street Journal

Provides business information more on a regionalized basis

Provides access to a large number of trade and industry publications.

  • Lexis-Nexis
    Lexis provides extensive information on industries and corporations through full text access to newspapers, magazines, newsletters and financial reports.
  • Mergent Online
    Financial profiles of publicly-traded companies in the U.S. and abroad. Coverage includes history, property, subsidiaries, officers, directors, long term debt, capital stock, news, income statement, balance sheet, statements of cash flow, ratio analysis, basic directory information, and more.
  • Mintel Market Reports
    Includes a wide range of reports on U.S. and international markets. The reports inlcude: Automotive, Beauty and Personal, Clothing, Beverages, Electronics, Health and Medical, and Travel. The user is required to create a login profile before initial use.

Full-text industry information including Advertising, Aerospace & Defense, Banking, Broadcasting, Communications, Healthcare, Electric utilities and many others. This guide also includes Stocks, Bonds, and Earnings guides.

Contains full-text information and ratings on a variety of Stock, Mutual Funds, and Extended Traded Funds.

  • Value Line Research Center 
    Fulltext reports on companies and industries.  Also, publications covering stocks, mutual funds, options and convertible securities as well as special situation stocks.
  • Business & Industry
    Coverage includes important facts, figures, and key events for international public and private companies, industries, products, and markets. Includes trade magazines, newsletters, and the general business press to international business dailies. Some full text. 1994-present. Updated daily.

 

Utah Company and Industry Sources

These sources can be helpful if you are looking for information on Utah companies.

 

Searchable directories of companies based in Utah.

  • Utah Business Directory Reference Table 6 HF5065.U8u78

Directory of Utah business organized by the Standard Industry Code (SIC) as well as cities.

 

Industry Classification

In some databases, you can search by industry classification numbers.  Some use SIC, some use NAICS, and some use both. 

  • North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
    Provides common industry definitions for Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This new system is replacing the countries' separate classification systems with one uniform system for classifying industries. In the US, NAICS will replace the Standard Industrial Classification system (SIC). Provides information about new industries and sectors as well as correspondence information between NAICS and SIC.
  • Standard Industrial Classification Code Search
    Allows a search of the 1987 version SIC manual by keyword, access of descriptive information for a specified 4-digit SIC, and examination of the manual structure. The SIC manual may be searched by keyword or by SIC code from this site.
 

Associations

Associations are potential sources of detailed information on companies and industries. Many have Web pages.

  • Encyclopedia of Associations Reference Desk
  • Encyclopedia of Associations (International Organizations) Reference Desk
  • Associations on the Net (Internet Public Library)
    "A collection of over 2000 Internet sites providing information about a wide variety of professional and trade associations, cultural and art organizations, political parties and advocacy groups, labor unions, academic societies, and research institutions. Abstracts summarizing information about the association and its site are provided."

Job and Career Information

For information on career information contact the HR department of a company. Also, take the opportunity to network with professionals in the field.

  • If interested in a particular company, check the company home page. Often there is a section devoted to position openings with the company.

Provides information on a variety of professions including training and education, job prospects, working conditions, job search tips, information about job markets in specific states, and more.

  • Often associations will publish information about salaries in their profession, often broken down by geographic regions.

 

Research Tips for Company Research

A few questions to ask yourself before you begin:

  • What company are you researching?
    If you need help in selecting a company, try the Fortune 500 web site. This site lists the Fortune 500 companies in order of Fortune 500 rank and provides links to their homepages, a company snapshot, industry information, and other information pertaining to the company. Since these companies are large publicly held companies, it will be relatively easy to find information.
  • Is the company public or private?


a
. Determine whether the company is publicly held, privately owned, or a subsidiary of a publicly held organization. Remember, information is more easily found for publicly held companies.


b. Public Company stock can be bought on public stock exchanges. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that public companies disclose financial information to the public. Therefore, there is a lot of financial data and disclosures about public company practices.


c. Private Company stock is typically owned by the principles in the company (founders, family members key employees, etc.). Financial disclosures do not have to be made to the public. The best strategy is to search for a company web site, news sources or inquire directly to the company. See Private Company Resources for suggestions on how to research privately held companies.

Beware of 'hidden company names' when researching a company. If you cannot find any information on a public company after searching by company name, try potential variants of the company name or use the ticker symbol. Here are a few examples:

  • DuPont: The company's name is actually E I Du Pont de Nemours & Company. For companies with initials in their name, try searching both forms. Another example is E. W. Scripps.
  • IBM: is actually International Business Machines
  • AT&T: really IS AT&T (but used to be American Telephone and Telegraph Company)
  • The Gap: Some directories will list this company under the T's, while others will list it under G. If a company has a 'The' at the beginning of its name, try both.
  • Alcoa: Commonly known as 'Alcoa', it's proper legal name is Aluminum Company of America. Some directories list it under 'Alcoa', and some under its proper name.
  • Using punctuation: Some databases don't mind periods or commas- they simply ignore them. Others are more picky: if you don't include punctuation, you won't get results, OR including punctuation gives you no results. Again, if you're unsure, try both.

 


Research Tips for Industry Research

Some questions to consider include:

  • What are the industry trends and areas of growth?
  • Who are the leading companies in the industry?
  • What products and services are in the greatest demand?
  • What new technologies are impacting the industry?

This information can be found in some of the general industry sources listed above.

 


Sample Completed Project


Research Assistance

If you can't find what you are looking for or you have further questions...

  • Come to the Reference Desk located on the middle level at the north end of the library
  • Call the Reference Desk at (801) 626-6415 or Toll free (877) 306-3140
  • Click on Live Assistant from the Library Home Page during library hours
  • Email the Reference Desk at refdesk@weber.edu

Or contact the Business & Economics Librarian

Updated March 10, 2009 by Ed Hahn. Please send comments to Ed Hahn .
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