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COMM4490: Public Relations Workshop: Company or Organization Research

Searching for informaiton on Companies

  • Does your company sell stock on a US stock exchange? If so, you will be able to find a variety of reports prepared by the company for investors.  In general more information will be availalbe on public companies or larger organizations.
  • Check out tthe company/organization webpages, documents.
  • What can you determine about the companies image? How does the company/org promote its products/services?
  • Find out as much as you can about the product. brand or service that will be the topic of your PR plan


SEC Filings

A good source of public company information are the filiings at the Securities & Exchange Commission. Most companies will post these documents on the company webpage in the "investor's section" but you can also go directly to the SEC. Search for a company by name or ticker symbol. The best source is the 10-K, so limit your search results to that filing only.

Profling a Company or Organization

It's helpful to start with general overviews of a company. Background information will make it easier to search for company specifics on the Internet or to find articles in the business press.

How to find a SWOT analysis in Business Source Premier

Many public companies will have SWOT Analyses available in Business Source Premier.

Using Procter & Gamble as an example, tjhe easiest way to find these reports is to enter the company name with the word SWOT in the search box. Note that some companies names can be difficult to work with. so in this example the search terms procter swot are sufficient.

What if the company is private or a non-profit?

For private and non-profit companies, you will have to use the materials on the organizations webpages in additions to articles in a variety of news sources. The databases will be particularly useful for these types of organizations. For a small business such as a restaurant, you probably won't find much written about the organization, except perhpas reviews. In this case, it might be useful to learn more about the industry in addition to examining the web presence of the company.

Go to the Database List


Subject Guide

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Richard Kearney
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Electronic Resources Librarian
Reference and Information Services Office, Room 107g
David and Lorraine Cheng Library
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, NJ 07470