I was trying to help a student this afternoon with locating financial information for a private company located in the United Kingdom. As a general rule, it can be incredibly difficult to find financial information for private, foreign companies. In this case, we were looking for a pharmaceutical company located in the United Kingdom.
In my quest for helping this student, I checked multiple places. Hoover’s Online gave some sales information and number of employees, but that’s about it. Factiva only had a few news articles on the company, and also the same profile from Hoovers. I tried a few other places, but was striking out every where I went. Finally, I searched for the company in the Company Profiles section of Lexis-Nexis. The third result in our list was just what we were looking for. The student said, “Lexis just saved my day.” I was thinking that if I had allowed myself to get frustrated, I might not have gotten around to searching Lexis. Needless to say, I was glad we were able to find what the student was looking for.
This scenario is an example of what makes business research so frustrating, challenging, and rewarding. Business research is admittedly difficult. What makes business research so hard, when compared to other disciplines, is that there is no one single place to look for information. Other disciplines only have a handful of databases that researchers use to find information. Business, on the other hand, is quite different. With business research, there is no one place to shop. That is, there is no Wal-mart for business research, as there are different databases for company financials, business news articles, stock analyses, industry overviews, market research, consumer trends, etc. This makes it very important for the business researcher to look for information in different resources. If you’re not having success in a particular database, try using another one. Sooner or later, if you keep trying, you’ll find something useful. As always, if you get really stuck, please feel free to contact me or one of the other librarians. We’ll be more than happy to help you see the rewarding side of business research.