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COM400 - Strategic management

Sources and strategies for researching a company and industry for external analysis report.

Tips for researching an industry

  • Use library databases to find industry overview reports, these cover many aspects of Porter's five forces and PESTEL analysis. 
  • Search the web for information created by/for those working in your industry. Look for government websites, industry associations, professional research firms, economic commissions, incubators, and industry specific (trade) publications. See Business Guide | Industry Research page for examples. 
  • Search for news or other articles to complement or update reports you've found with the most current industry trends, projections, overall economic conditions, and social factors.

Tips for researching a company

Industry reports

Looking at relevant industry reports will help you identify competition and how your company is performing in the industry compared to others, it will also help you with some aspects of the PESTEL and five forces analysis.

News & articles

News is sometimes our only source of external information about a small or private company. News or interviews with CEOs can provide really current and up to date information about a company’s performance, products, problems, actions, and strategy or the most current industry trends, projections, overall economic conditions, and social factors.

Company profiles

Several library databases provide access to company profiles, use these to understand the organizational context and collect basic information.

Company websites

Start with the website of the company you are researching. A public company listed on the stock exchange will have a lot of investor information including:

  • financials & filings -- especially the company's annual report

  • board & executives

  • strategy & reporting presentations

  • news/press releases + social media/blogs

  • stock information

  • analyst coverage

  • initiatives such as sustainability, EDI, employee engagement etc.

Note: It can be much harder to find information about a smaller, private, or international company.

Citation help

Learn how to cite ChatGPT and other AI tools using the following guide:

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