Step 1: Identify/Profile a Company
Is the company is publicly-owned (does the company trade stock on an exchange like NASDAQ or NYSE?) or privately-held? Try a Google search.
Look for stock price and stock exchange information? If you don't see it, look for language that describes a privately held privately-held organization.
Check the databases for company profiles. They typically describe current business activities, the company's history, financial information, number of employees, principle executives, products, and services, brands, and key competitor
Search several of these sources to get the most complete picture of your company.
Where to find company profiles:
Library Sources - databases
Business Insights: Essentials
Business Source Ultimate
Hoovers Company Records
*Company profiles for privately-owned companies may be more challenging to locate but try Business Source Ultimate. Its MarketLine company profiles include some of the more readily available information on privately-held companies. Also, Check Hoover’s Company Records (may be listed as Business Market Research Collection). The most useful information here may be the company description and the list of competitors.
Step 2: Search for Current News and in-depth Articles
What do third parties say about your company? Check the databases for articles, reports, and financial documents. Articles published in leading business magazines and trade journals often provide insight into a company's operations, strategy and competitors.
Where to look for articles:
Business Source Ultimate
These Internet sites are devoted to business news and will also provide access to a lot of free content:
Google Business News
Step 3: Visit the Company's Web Site
What does the company say about itself? Check the company website, specifically the About section; Investor Relations; Corporate Responsibility; Corporate or Investor Relations.
Step 4: Examine the Company's Financials and Market Performance
Public companies issue annual reports to shareholders and are required to regularly file financial reports including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission (also known as Edgar). Library sources for financial information include options for downloading it into a spreadsheets for analysis.
Where to find financial information:
Step 5: Locate a Company's Business Strategy
U.S. Public Companies usually state business strategies in PART I, Item 1. Business of Form 10-K (or annual report) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The business overview in the 10-K includes a discussion of the company's strategy, products and services, operations, marketing, distribution, international business, suppliers and government regulation.
Where to find 10-Ks:
Step 6: Locate Investment Research Reports
Financial institutions (banks, investment firms) produce research reports, written by analysts, that discuss a company's health, future plans, and much more, for public companies.
Where to find Analysts’ Reports:
Business Insights: Essentials (search for the company; under Company Information, look for Investment Reports)
Nexis Uni (under Guided Search, select Company Info, enter the company; under ...and show me, click the dropdown to select Analyst Report)
Step 7: Survey the Industry and Competition
Companies are affected by industry conditions. Industry reports can help to identify the top competitors as well.
ABI/Inform Collection (search for your industry AND "first research for industry reports)
Business Source Ultimate (search for industryname AND marketline industry report AND united states). Limiting to the U.S. will filter out other country reports. Of course, you can limit your search by any country).
Before you even begin searching a database, consider these steps for creating a list of relevant words and terms:
What kind of effect does supply chain management have on customer satisfaction?
supply chain management
|supply chain management||SCM|
|customer satisfaction||customer experience|
|supply chain management||OR||SCM|
|AND||customer satisfaction||OR||customer experience|
*What is a Boolean operator? The most common Boolean operators are AND & OR. The use of operators allows researchers to combine several search terms into one search. Identify several words and terms that can be used in different combinations to get to relevant results. Keep in mind, it is not necessary or even advisable to enter all of the terms you brainstorm into one search. In the above example: each column of terms could be a separate search.
Elements of Peer-Reviewed and Scholarly, Trade publications, and Magazines
You will come across several document types in database searches, most of which will be familiar: newspapers, magazines, reports, blogs, and more. But the publications that might be more challenging are peer-reviewed and scholarly journals and trade publications. Here are some elements to look for:
Peer-reviewed/scholarly journals -
Trade publication -
For a more complete comparison, see Comparing Scholarly, Trade, General Publications.
supply chain management
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