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COMM 120/296/465/420 BAMA 550 Introduction to Marketing

Researching Companies

Your assignments in Comm 296 require that that you research specific companies, finding information on their history, outlook, customers, and macro and micro environments in order to an analyze them.  

The library has created profiles of some specific companies, which pull together a variety of sources, including web pages, profiles, and general article searches on the companies.  These profiles include a diversity of organizations, but more information will be available for large, publicly traded companies than for private companies, subsidiaries and nonprofits.

David Lam Library Company Profiles:

Researching Companies - Overview

Top sources for Public company information inforgraphic

Considerable information is available on publicly traded companies--those that trade their shares on public stock exchanges. However, most companies in the world are privately held companies.

Private Companies

Private companies are more challenging to research, since they are not required to publish detailed financial statements or annual reports. When researching private companies, you will not have access to annual reports, financials, analyst reports, or SWOTs. You will have to use article databases, directories, the company's website, industry associations, and patent information sources. In some cases, even these sources may not reveal much information.


Companies can also own other companies, called subsidiaries. If the parent company is public, the parent company generally files the financials, and incorporates financial information from the subsidiary within its own results. If the parent company is private, no financials are filed for either the parent or the subsidiaries.

Top sources for private company research



Want to Find More Information on Companies?

If you want to find more information about these companies, or if you want to research a company that does not have a library profile explore the Company Research guide for sources and strategies, including where to find published SWOT analyses.

Articles can also be useful for researching companies, as articles are published on all kinds of public, private, subsidiaries, crown corporations and non-profits,  as well as about their customers, economic environment, and industry context.

Try looking for articles about companies in business article databases - to help you search them view the video and use the handout.

Searching Article Databases

Articles are specific in scope and can also provide information on current trends and issues. Article databases listed here are available through the library and allow you to search hundreds of journals, magazines or newspapers for information on a variety of topics.

Learn the basics of searching for articles in business databases in our short video below, or refer to our Research Tips guide for for examples of how to search article databases effectively, like using single words or short phrases. 

(Sample video content from Business Source Complete database used by permission of EBSCO Publishing.)

Business Article Databases