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Ekstrom Library

Louisville Business Research: Using Business Resources

Business Research Sources

When searching for business information in secondary sources, it is often good to start by thinking about who else might have a reason to collect the same type of information you are seeking. Most business information comes from three types of sources:

Government
Various branches of government provide a wide range of data and facts essential for business operations and analyses. These include, among many other things, patents, tax laws, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings for publicly traded companies, economic census data on businesses, population census data on markets, and household spending data.

Companies
Almost all companies have websites as well as media or public relations personnel who disseminate information about companies and their products--and sometimes their competitors. Just remember that companies may be somewhat selective about what they choose to share and how they position the information they do release to the public.

Interested Third Parties
The third group consists of businesses who have vested interests in gathering and publishing information about industries, companies, and products.These generally fall into two major subgroups.

These groups, as well as a few similar resources designed specifically for academic audiences, strive for accuracy in their reports, but it is important to remember each publication's target audience and sources of income when utilizing the information.

  • Financial services organizations that analyze markets to help educate investors about business sectors, industries, management, trends, and executive leadership (e.g., Standard & Poor's and Mergent).
  • Trade publications whose primary audiences are people who work in the various industries. Almost every industry has several publications that regularly run articles about leading companies and products, emerging trends, marketing programs,and management personnel. (e.g., Beverage World and Nation's Restaurant News),

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