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Business Research Guide

This guide is to help you research topics and trends in Business. Using the tabs, you can access links to library resources as well as research tips and citation tools.

Private and Public Companies

Private companies are those for which there is no public ownership of their shares or assets. Because private or family-owned companies are not required to file detailed financial information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), there are a lot fewer information sources for private company research.   Public companies are those that are listed on at least one public stock exchange (such as NYSE and NASDAQ) and have issued securities for ownership in the company to public investors. 

Here are some general guidelines for searching for information on non-public companies:

  • Search for the Company/Organization's name when searching online for news and journal articles.

  • Search the Industry of the company/organization to find out news, trends, threats, etc.  Think about how the company compares to others in the industry.   What is going on in the industry of your company (e.g. pricing trends, competition, cost trends, innovation) and also what is happening in the operating environment (e.g. economy, demographic trends, regulation/laws, etc.

  • Search the Organization/Company’s website for any information they may have available to the public such as press releases and news.   However, be sure to understand the bias of information posted on a company's website. They are not likely to post negative information.