Business 1100

Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.netIn this class, there is often a research assignment in which you choose a public company to research. The assignment varies by instructor, but below are areas that are commonly asked for in the assignment.

How to find a public company:

This is an easy one, but one that some students get stuck on. Often, students choose companies that are big, but still privately held. In other cases, they search the brand name rather than the company name. Forbes publishes a list of the world's biggest public companies. Another comprehensive list is available on Investor Guide. Already have a company? Confirm that it is still public by obtaining its ticker symbol. Having this information will help you search for information about the company.

How to find company information:

History, financials, competitors, and CEO information is often requested in this assignment. Many times, this information can be found on the company's website. However, this assignment often requests that you cite from many different sources. Let me suggest that you use the following as well:

Hoover's
Start here. Search by company name and obtain its profile. There are links to competitor lists, industry challenges, historical financials and even salary information for key employees. Hoover's is used with business students but also job seekers.

Morningstar Investment Research Center
If you want financials or analysis, this is the database for you. Searchable by company name or ticker symbol. Look for the tab, "stock analysis" in your company's profile. You will appreciate the bulleted lists of bull and bear analysis points.

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage
Another place to obtain nicely packaged stock reports that include financials and analysis.

How to find recent articles about your company:

In "telling your company's story", you should include recent events as well. Companies will issue press releases all the time, but don't rely just on what you find through "Googling". To have a more balanced view of your company, obtain articles that have been published by a magazine, newspaper or journal. These articles are often more credible because they go through an editorial process. I suggest seeing what the Wall Street Journal, THE daily financial newspaper, has on your company. I would also try Business Source Complete for sources. This a HUGE database that has articles from magazines, but also SWOTs for many large public companies.

How to find the annual report:

This is easy. Find the company's website and look for a link to either "Investor Information", "Investor Relations" or "About Us". These seem to be the most common links on company websites to places where they will keep the annual reports for the company. Not sure if you have it? Hoover's, Morningstar Investment Research Center and Yahoo Finance will offer links to the "official" websites of the companies.

How to find stock prices:

Need historical balance sheet information? Try Hoover's. It has historical financials in each profile. If you don't see them, you have either chosen the wrong profile for the company or your company is not public at this time. Need daily stock prices for the last 15 weeks? Yahoo Finance offers that information. Search with the ticker symbol and look for the link "historical prices" on the left hand side. You can even find out the cost of the first share of its stock.

Citing your sources:

Not only will you include information from the articles either in direct quotes or paraphrased form, you are also expected to create an MLA based citation. Examples of how that looks are here. If citing is new to you, make an appointment with a writing coach in the Learning Commons for more help. It can make a difference in the quality of your work.