BPL 5100: Business Policy

News Sources

Business magazines, trade journals and newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times are key sources for identifying industry trends, researching historic events and keeping up-to-date on the latest industry happenings.

Trade journals and newsletters written for industry insiders provide information on private companies, niche industries, new products and manufacturing and distribution processes. This information is hard-to-find elsewhere.

We have many databases for newspapers and databases for business magazines.

Market Research

Market research firms gather competitive intelligence specially tailored to the needs of particular clients.  Their reports often provide exclusive market share, market size, distribution channels, and brand or product information. They feature analysis of consumer demographics and profiles of key competitors.

We have many databases for market research.

Company Analysis

You can establish a baseline of information about a company by examining what the company is saying about itself on its website, in its annual report, SEC filings and press releases.

All U.S. public companies must file an annual report, Form 10-K, with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  In the “Business Overview” section of the 10-K, companies discuss their competitive environment. In the “MD&A” section, they discuss the financial condition of the company and risk factors that might affect company performance.

Financial analysts from banks or independent research firms examine the financial performance of industries and key public companies.  They identify strategic issues as well as provide financial forecasts and investment advice.

We have many databases for doing company research.


Industry Analysis

Start your research by building a basic understanding of how the industry operates. You need to gain an understanding of what inputs are required, how goods are produced, and the various types of outputs. Read industry studies to identify the top competitors and their relationship to their suppliers and customers. 

Trade associations monitor industry trends, collect industry data and promote the interests of their members.  Their publications are often freely available at their websites.

We have many databases for doing industry research.

Wall Street Research

Equity analyst reports from investment banks and boutique research firms are especially useful for financial analysis and forecasts.  Reports on companies can also be event-driven and analyze mergers, spin-offs, management changes and other strategic issues. Analysts also produce industry reports and surveys of the economy.

Trade Journals

Trade journals are good sources for identifying industry trends. Search using your industry name or NAICS code and combine it with keywords like "trends" or "surveys" or "outlook."

Trade Association Websites

Associations collect industry data, publish industry surveys, monitor regulatory changes and keep their members up-to-date on industry news.

Use Google or another search engine to find industry association websites. The Industry Surveys in S&P NetAdvantage list the key associations and government agencies.