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Researching a Company - General

Researching a Company?

To get the whole picture, look for information...


1. From the company


Company Websites will have annual reports, investor reports, and press releases. These will usually be on the 'Investor Relations' or corporate version of the website.

Annual reports are published by companies to share information with stakeholders and the public about what the company has been up to in the preceding year. They often include graphics, photos, and stories about company projects, along with the required financial and operational information. 


Parent or Subsidiary?

Begin by finding out if your company is a parent company or a subsidiary. If it is a subsidiary, you will  need to know who the parent is to find annual reports and other information. 


Public or Private?

Then find out if it is a public or private company. Public companies are easier to research because they are required to publish financial and other information. Private companies are not required to do this.


To find parent/subsidiary/public/private information:


Google it: look on the right-hand side of the results screen. If it is a subsidiary, the parent company will be listed. If it is a Parent, any subsidiaries will be listed. 

If it is public, a stock market ticker symbol will usually be included on the right-hand side as well - but not always. Use Business Source Complete or Globe and Mail Investor to double-check companies that appear to be private.

NOTE: Ticker symbols for companies based outside of North America may not appear when using Google


Or use the 'Company Information' option in Business Source Complete 


2. About the company


Company Profiles are written by 3rd-party analysts. They discuss the company in relation to other companies and the industry. To find them, use library databases:


Newspapers and trade publications may contain information if your company has been in the news. Companies may not report any bad news on their own website.

Also, company reports typically only come out once a year, whereas newspapers and trade publications are published daily, weekly, or monthly and are more likely to contain the latest information about the company and its products/services, or industry trends.

Use library databases:


3. About the Industry

Industry profiles are reports written by analysts that discuss trends, products, services, market share, major companies, and other factors affecting and affected by the industry. A group of similar companies = an Industry. 


Search Tip: Some databases contain reports for specific NAICS codes (North American Industry Classification System), like IBISWorld, while others will combine different NAICS industries together, like Business Source Complete and Passport GMID.

In general, IBISWorld reports are more detailed, however you may need to look at more than one report to gain a full understanding of an industry - you may need to look at manufacturing, wholesale and retail reports for a product.

For example when researching the Coffee industry, you may wish to see both the Coffee & Snack Shops industry report and the Coffee & Tea Production industry report to gain a full understanding.


To find industry profiles, use library databases:

See videos (above left) for help searching for Industry reports


4. About the country

Country profiles will include a PEST Analysis (Political, Economic, Social and Technological) and will discuss other major trends and issues affecting the country's business environment.

To find country reports, use library databases:

Or government websites: