View the video and the task learning guides (TLGs) below, which demonstrate how to find company information in the CSU Online Library and how to find competitor or industry information in the CSU Online Library.
Company and Industry Research video (transcript for Company and Industry Research video)
How to Find Company Information in the Business Source Ultimate Database TLG
How to Search for Articles With a Company Focus TLG
Reflect on ways that you might use this as a marketing manager within a company and then how you might use this as a student completing your graduate course of study.
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Researching and Analyzing a Company and Industry
Hello, and welcome to our discussion of CSU Library resources for company and
industry research and analysis. In this tutorial, I am going to introduce you to the library
databases that are good starting points when you are looking for information on specific
companies and industries.
Here is a view of the CSU Library homepage. While the Discovery Search box here at
the top is a good resource to use at the beginning of many searches, you will get more
focused results by using an individual database that offers the option to perform a
targeted search by company or industry. To do that, click the Databases button here.
The Databases button will redirect you to an A-Z list of databases to which the library
subscribes. Use the titles and the brief descriptions in this list to help choose a
database; then click a specific title to start your search.
In this A-Z list, you will find four specific databases that are good starting points for
company or industry research: they are Mergent Online, Business Source Ultimate,
ABI/INFORM Collection, and IBISWorld.
We’ll focus on researching and analyzing a company first. If you don’t already have a
company selected, use the Company Information link in Business Source Ultimate to
help select one. Here is the main search screen for Business Source Ultimate, one of
our larger business databases. To start, click the Company Information link at the top of
the main search screen.
On the company search screen, you can search for information by specifying Company
Name or Ticker Symbol. Or if you need help choosing a public U.S. company to
research, look below and check the Public box under U.S. Company Type and then hit
This will take you to a list of publicly-traded companies in the United States; click the
name of a company to be redirected to a company overview page, with contact
information, revenue and financial data, and a list of important executives. The amount
or type of specific information available in this database varies widely among companies
listed. For a more comprehensive overview of company details, let’s try the Mergent
Online database instead.
For company details and reports, Mergent Online is a great database to choose! To
start, type the name of your chosen company into the Company Search box here and
click Go; then select the one you are looking for from the company list that appears.
Use the section tabs and descriptors on a company’s opening page to navigate to more
detailed company information. The company overview page that opens up provides a
brief overview of the company at large, including company contact info, a list of key
executives, up-to-date stock prices, and recent financial figures.
Under the Reports tab, for example, you may find the most recent annual reports that
have been posted publicly such as the latest 10-K, which is an annual report that gives
a comprehensive summary of a company’s financial performance. Browse through past
reports to further analyze a company’s growth or shrinkage over time.
The Competitors tab will allow you to quickly compare the basic information of a company’s closest competitors as well as jump between individual company reports. Using the Remove column and the add company box, you can build your own custom report to compare a company with competitors that you identify. Remember that the company information available will differ from one company profile
to the next. In general, the company profiles of major companies found in Mergent
Online are extremely detailed, and the only way to truly know what’s available is to get
into it and explore it widely! For articles and reports that discuss specific companies, try
one of our other two business databases, Business Source Ultimate and ABI/INFORM
On the main search screen of Business Source Ultimate, type a company name into the
top search box. Then select CO Company Entity as your search field limit. This is
especially helpful if your chosen company has a name like Target or Apple, which are
also words that can be used in other contexts. Add more keywords to the lower boxes
as necessary and hit search.
Here you have your results. To limit your search to information about problems the
company has faced, you can try adding related keywords such as challenges, issues, or
scandals to the lower search boxes. You can place multiple related words in the search
boxes using the OR connector. The OR connector broadens your search by searching
for keywords separately but simultaneously.
Try to think of as many related words, synonyms, and even more specific words as you
can to use in your searches because various words may be used to describe the
information you are seeking.
If you have already discovered particular problems or issues a company has, you can
use those as keywords as well.
Once you have your keywords in place, hit the Search button again to update your
Don’t forget to take a look at the tools available to you on the results page to further limit
and sort your results. The options featured here allow you to sort your results by
several criteria, including “Relevance,” which is very helpful in that it brings articles with
information most relevant to your keywords to the beginning of the results list.
Scroll down to take a look at the useful limiters in the left column. Here, you can limit by
Publication Date, Scholarly (Peer-Reviewed) Journals, Source Type, and more.
If the titles don’t look promising, you can take a quick look inside the article by clicking
the Preview option on the right.
Our other big business database, ABI/INFORM Collection, is also a good place to look for articles on specific companies. Although this database looks a bit different than the one we were just in, the same strategies apply to article searches. Type a company name in the search box to start (notice that “United Airlines” has quotation marks around it, and you will always want to enclose any keywords that are phrases in quotation marks so the database will search for that exact phrase); then, on the right, use your search field limiters to limit the search to Company/Organization–ORG. Add more keywords to the lower boxes as necessary and hit search. Use the Preview button on the right to take a quick look inside the article. You can sort your results here, and limit your results using the options in the left column. So, the three main databases to use for company research are as follows: Mergent Online is best for company details and both Business Source Ultimate and ABI/INFORM Collection are good databases in which to find articles or reports with a company focus. Now, let’s focus on researching and analyzing an industry. For industry research, you
will want to try the IBISWorld database. Here, on the IBISWorld main search screen,
start by typing either a company name or a keyword related to the industry you want to
explore. Let’s try Ford, a major player in the automobile industry. That will bring up a list
of industry reports in which Ford is featured, such as this one: Car & Automobile
Manufacturing in the US. Click on the title of a report to explore it further.
On the “About this Industry” page, you will find, among other things, an industry
definition, which provides a short, technical outline of an industry as well as a short list
of the products or services that are important to that industry. The supply chain is a
visual overview of the industry that includes links to other reports of interest, such as
those for suppliers, buyers, and related industries. The key external drivers for a given
industry are listed here as well.
In the Major Players section, Ford is listed, which is why a search for that company
triggered this report, but in this database, the focus is on the industry at large instead of
the individual company, which is why the main activities and products of the industry
and similar industries are highlighted here instead of the company we started with. In
fact, the Similar Industries section can be used to identify potential competitors or
Use the section tabs on the left to dive more deeply into any given industry.
IBISWorld is a great resource to use for the bigger picture behind a company, so to
The Industry at a Glance section provides a quick statistical overview of the industry at
present, its key influences, and its past and expected performance. The Industry
Structure chart identifies key industry trends and levels that are discussed throughout
the report. Scroll down to find the Executive Summary, which provides a brief
explanation of significant trends and issues, current performance over the past five
years, and a forecast for the next five years. If you’re pressed for time, this section can
also be used as a quick summary, but deeper analysis of this section’s contents can be
found in the other sections of the report. For more information on the future of an
Check out the Industry Outlook section, which provides information on an industry’s life
cycle state and forecasts the potential for growth or threat of shrinkage of the industry in
And the Major Companies section provides information on the top 2-4 companies within
an industry, if any. Here, we can see that Ford qualifies as a major player due to its
significant market share of the industry at large.
The industry reports in IBISWorld, like the company reports in Mergent Online, are quite
detailed and demand careful exploration, but the information that they can provide is
definitely worth the time it takes to go through them.
The IBISWorld database is an invaluable tool for industry research! Be sure and make it your first stop when you are looking for information on particular industries. And if you don’t know which database to use, or if you’ve tried all of the search tips
we’ve discussed in this tutorial with no success, please reach out to the CSU Library
and ASK A LIBRARIAN. We are happy to help! We are available via phone, email, and
chat. So, please contact us if you have questions, and let us know how we can help
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