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Business Information Triangle

This guide is a great place to start for learning about the types of business information that is available to you and where to go to find it.

Business & Economics Librarian

Profile Photo
Jennilyn Wiley
RBD Library
231 Mell Street
Auburn University, AL 36849-5606
Subjects: Business, Economics

Company Research Ecosystem




Company Information is scattered throughout many locations, but the resources listed here can help you save time and effort.  The key to conducting efficient research is having a clear picture of the kind of information you are looking for.  If you know what you are looking for, you have a better chance of then choosing where to look.  While a lot of the data found in subscription databases can be discovered using freely available tools, the specificity of specialized resources often makes for quicker access and better quality.  

Company Profiles

These resources provide general overviews of companies that can include various types of information, including recent news coverage, financial histories, biographical information.  Some sources may also provide more long-form content that contains detailed analyses like SWOT and Five Forces - these can be very handy and save you a lot of time and effort.

Financial Data

Publicly traded companies must report their financial performance data to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The annual filing with the SEC is also known as a 10-K and it is the most robust filing available, often containing details about the business, its operations, its risk factors, and executive compensation, among other data point.  These can be a treasure trove for researchers - they can tell you whether a company is amking money or losing money and why.  The quarterly filing is also known as a 10-Q, and there are many other types of filings available.  These SEC documents are discoverable through the federal government and the company's website as well as numerous library databases.  

White Papers

White Papers are informative documents that cover individual topics but may not be "published" in a traditional manner.  Sometimes provided by governments or non-profit agencies as well as individual companies or market research firms, these can be found through company websites and blogs more easily than through library databases. 

Try this Google search to find White Papers, where company name should be replaced with your target company:

[company name "white paper" filetype:pdf]

Disclosure Transcripts

Since the year 2000, publicly traded firms must provide written transcripts of their information disclosures, including their conference calls.  Regularly held "earnings calls", often accompanying the release of earnings information to the Securities and Exchange Commission, can provide excellent insight from company directors on performance and strategy.  Use the following resources to locate these earnings calls.

Investment Analyst Reports

Investment analysts at banking and other financial institutions provide reports and analysis on potential investments.  These reports are often made available through various means, and it is worth your time to try and discover these kinds of documents.  While this type of information can be very proprietary (you can understand why an investment bank may not want this kind of analysis to be made public ), you have access to a handful of resources that provide this kind of information as a member of the Auburn community.


These resources provides lists of companies.  You can search by things like industry, location, and size.  They will also often contain biographical information on key company personnel.

SWOT Reports

Pre-packaged SWOT, Five Forces, PEST, and other reports can be found in various databases, although there is not one singular source to find everything on every company.  Business Source Premier contains SWOT reports on many firms from a market research company called MarketLine and this is probably your best bet for starting your research.  You will also want to use Google to search for your company + SWOT (or whichever report you are interested in).  Lastly, be sure to check any public company's annual reports or 10K filings because these will often contain descriptions of the business and identified threats and risks.