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Business Research

Introduction to Business Resources at Buley Library and Beyond

Business Research FAQs

Private companies are those for which there is no public ownership of its shares or assets. In the United States, the majority of businesses are privately held. Because private companies are not required to file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the information sources for private company research are reduced considerably. Researching a private company may require creativity and persistence, since it is difficult to find financial (or other) information about them in public sources, and consequently in most business databases.

Best bets: Try Mergent or Statista database searches (see instructions below) or check out the private company lists below:

In Mergent, choose "D&B 20 Plus Private Company Search" from the top menu.

Forbes List of America's Largest Private Companies

Inc. 50000. The Fastest Growing Private Companies in America: the Inc. 5,000 is an expansion of the Inc. 500, which Inc. introduced in 1982. The Inc. 5,000 offers a comprehensive look at the 5000 fastest growing private companies in America.

Red Herring's 100 Awards: since 1996, Red Herring has complied a list of the top 100 private technology companies. The site includes the top 100 companies in the Global, North American, Europe and Asia categories. To be included on the list companies must be technology or life science-based and privately held.

Business databases like Business Source Premier or ABI/Inform are good choices for scholarly and peer-reviewed articles written by experts in their fields. Google Scholar is also a good source and will display both open access and SCSU owned materials within the results page.

You can check out the Finding Scholarly or Peer-Reviewed Business Articles & Books page of this guide or find links to some best bets below:

The library now subscribes to the WSJ directly. If you have not yet set up an account with the WSJ, visit and sign up using your SCSU email address. 


Yahoo! Finance Historical Prices

  • From the main page, enter the stock symbol followed by the "Get Quote" button, then select the "Historical Data" link.
  • Provides historical prices for stocks on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Information provided includes opening price, high, low, close, and trading volume. Years covered vary by company, with data available back to 1970.
  • Data may be downloaded in spreadsheet format.

In addition to Capital IQ, you can find this information in Mergent. To see current and historical credit ratings from Moody's, S&P, and Fitch, search by company name or ticker. Then, click on 'Long Term Debt' and click on an active CUSIP. The 2nd tab, Ratings, will show the current and historical credit ratings for the company.

Mergent BondViewer includes Fitch, Moody's and S&P ratings for individual bond issues on the synopsis page for the bond.

One place to look for Company analyst reports is Mergent Online (link above). Look up your company, then click the Company Reports tab from the top menu, and then Equity Reports.


If you can't find what you need in Mergent, many other sources for analyst reports charge a fee or require a paid subscription. This guide is a good overview of where and how to find them.

The Value of Analyst Reports

Investment/brokerage/securities houses, asset management companies and other investment managers may issue analyst reports on individual companies or industries.

Analyst reports are generally written to offer guidance to investors as to whether to invest in specific companies or industry sectors.

Reports may focus on recent financials and their expected share price movements. Valuable insights are provided when analysts write about the current and future outlook for the state of the industry, based not only on financials, but on interviews with top management, a review of peer performance and macro/micro economic indicators, among other inputs.

-from Golden Gate University's Company Research: Analyst Reports research guide


Industry SWOT analyses can be pieced together using industry profiles and reports. 

An industry classification system is a means of categorizing industries so that similar industries are grouped together and narrower industries appear within broader categories. Most company databases offer industry screening by classification system as well as by key words in the business description. Screening in a company database by use of an industrial classification system such as NAICS or SIC (see below can result in more comprehensive results than key word searching as many descriptions are incomplete or may be absent from a database.

On the other hand industry classification systems do not keep up with industry trends (Ex: wearables, big data) so new buzz words are not captured. For this reason a combination of approaches usually yields the best results

The resources listed below can be helpful in identifying the code to use for a company search by industry.

  • SIC Standard Industrial Classification System
  • NACE Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community
  • NAICS North American Industry Classification System
  • See the concordances for comparison with other systems.
  • National Classifications a table of classifications by country provided by the United Nations (scroll to the bottom to search by country or classification)

-From Harvard Business School's FAQ guide

Please see the HBR Articles & Cases page of this guide: