Strategic Planning/Business Policy (Power)


  • This guides points to important print and online sources
  • Print sources have Rod Library call numbers
  • Online sources restricted to UNI students/employees: will be prompted for CatID off-campus
  • Other online sources are free or partially free
  • Subscription databases available through Rod Library Business Portal, UNISTAR, and the library home page under Subjects A-Z and Databases A-Z
  • UNISTAR library catalog for print/electronic books; the following search expression gets electronic books published by Business Expert Press related to strategy: business expert press strategy

Review of Research Basics

Evaluating Sources

Academic Ethics

  • Credit (cite) authors whose words and ideas you borrow
  • Quotation marks and reference citation for exact quotes
  • Reference citation to works that are paraphrased, when ideas are not common knowledge
  • UNI Academic Ethics/Discipline policy - "plagiarism is defined as the process of stealing or passing off as one's own the ideas or words of another."
  • Citation style manuals discuss how to cite various types of publications and avoid unintentional plagiarism
  • Citation manuals such as APA at Rod Library Reference Desk; online guides such as UNC-G give tips for citing business databases; some databases provide suggested citation format

Getting Started Questions

Defining the Industry: Numerical and Word Classification Systems

Company's Exact Name and Status

  • Different companies can have similar-sounding names
  • Is it public or private? Is it a parent or subsidiary or division? Non-profit?
  • More info, particularly financial, is available for public parents that report to SEC
  • How determine status: Consult directories, company website, etc.
  • How determine competitors: industry studies, company directories arranged by industry, and specialized directories (ThomasNet; *ReferenceUSA and *LexisNexis Academic cover some smaller firms)
  • Status may change over time: public to private back to public, etc.

Finding Company and Industry/Market Analysis

*Value Line Investment Survey

  • Contains financial data, evaluation, and five year forecasts for some 1700 company stocks
  • Provides commentary and five year forecasts for 100 industries
  • Companies grouped by industries such as Automotive, Financial Services, Food Processng, etc.
  • Searching: Lookup Company and Lookup Industry tabs on left
  • Latest several editions online; older years on microfiche at Rod Library
  • Similar company analysis via * Morningstar Investment Research Center

*NetAdvantage (Standard & Poor's Industry Surveys, etc.)

  • Includes numerous sources such as Industry Surveys and Stock Reports
  • Industry Surveys: 30-page chapters on 55 industries such Autos & Auto Parts, Foods & Nonalcoholic Beverages, etc.
  • Industry Surveys: trends, how the industry operates, how to analyze a company in the industry, industry references, comparative company analysis, etc.
  • Look closely in articles for sources of information
  • Searching: Companies and Industries tabs on top menu, and on right
  • Searching: Left side contents in company records

*IBISWorld United States

  • Contains 700 industry reports at 5-digit NAICS level: 31152, 33621,  31194, 31142, etc.
  • Typical report: market size, industry structure, competition, segments, barriers to entry, outlook, etc.
  • Also reports key economic and demographic data
  • Indicates industry sensitivity to particular variables
  • Browse industry headings or search by NAICS code or keyword or company name

*Mintel Reports

  • Contains market research reports mainly on consumer products and demographic categories
  • Covers U.S. and other markets
  • Typical report: market drivers, size, and trends; the consumer; forecasts
  • Browse by main category or use quicksearch
  • Contains reports covering ice cream, barbecue sauce, motor homes or recreational vehicles, etc.
  • Must register to access reports

Finding Articles from Journals & Magazines 

*Business Insights: Global

  • Includes company profiles, indexing and full text of numerous business journals, investment reports from company analysts, industry profiles from reference sources, etc.
  • Covers many types of information needed for strategic analysis
  • Searching: Basic/Advanced, Industries and Company Finder tabs
  • Search results: Company records include links to articles under headings such as Strategy; some include SWOT analysis (from Global Data)

*ABI/INFORM Complete 

  • ABI indexes and provides full text of trade journals, business magazines, academic journals, market and industry reports, SWOT analyses, dissertations, and newspapers
  • Related ProQuest database: Hoover's Company Profiles, which provide info such as competitors
  • Searching: Basic, Advanced, Browse, Data & Reports
  • Searching: can make search more precise by limiting to fields such as Titles and Company/Org
  • Data & Reports from sources such as First Research Industry Profiles
  • Data & Reports Search: can limit to industry & market reports

*Business Source Elite 

  • Indexes and provides full text of trade journals, business magazines and journals, and newspapers
  • Some Company Profiles contain SWOT analyses  (from Marketline)
  • Select Company Profiles; browse or search; select PDF MarketReport

*LexisNexis Academic

  • Contains the full text of company reference sources; trade journals; newspapers;  statutes, regulations, and court cases; etc
  • Initial screen:  Easy Search for News, Legal, and Company Info
  • More options on left side of screen
  • News: Business & Industry
  • Companies: Company Dossier, Create a List, Company Profiles, etc.
  • Searching, Company Profiles: company name and SWOT, for reports from GlobalData
  • Searching, Company Dossier for specific firm: links to various sources
  • Covers some small companies such as local accounting firms
  • ReferenceUSA* also can be used to create lists of related small companies in areas such as particular cities

Finding Company Financials and Financial Analysis

EDGAR - Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval

  • Retrieval system (U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission)
  • U.S. companies that sell securities to public and meet size thresholds must file various disclosure documents with the SEC
  • 10K annual report and 10Q quarterly
  • 10K reports, Part 1., Item 1.  Business - describes nature of business; sometimes addresses competitive picture, strategies, raw materials consumed, suppliers, and distributors. See also Item 7: Management's discussion of operations
  • 10K Examples:  Dean  FoodsWinnebago Industries

*Mergent Online

  • Contains large public company history, news, and financials; financial & operating ratios; annual reports to shareholders; EDGAR filings
  • Financial statements go back 30 years in some cases
  • Can create customized reports comparing companies with other specific companies or industry as a whole
  • Searching: Basic, Advanced, Government/SEC
  • Highly customizable; can select particular variables to include in reports

Company Publications

  • Company websites usually contain links to SEC filings, news releases, annual report to shareholders, fact books, investor conference calls, etc.
  • How find company website: guess the URL ( or .org, if non-profit, Google, sources listed earlier on this handout
  • Look under headings such as Investor Relations, About Us, Publications, Audio Archives, etc.
  • Company webcasts: Winnebago -- executives review results, sometimes discuss strategies, and answer questions. Registration sometimes required to listen to webcasts. Often listed under heading like Investor Relations, then subheadings such as Webcasts or Investor Presentations

Finding Industry Data from Governments & Associations

Economic and Demographic Statistics from Federal and State Government Agencies and from Trade Associations


Stan Lyle, stanley.lyle@uni.eduBusiness Portal, Rod Library

February 6, 2013