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Business Guide

A guide for students doing basic research in business.

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Company Research

Before starting your research, it is essential to know whether it is public, private, or a subsidiary of a larger company.

Public companies sell shares of the company (stocks) to the general public. They are required to submit financial information and annual reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Public companies can be more accessible to research—Search Electronics Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval (EDGAR) website for company filings.

Private companies do not sell publicly traded stocks. They are not required to release as much information to the government or the general public. Because they are less visible publicly, they can be more challenging to research.

Subsidiaries of public companies can also be challenging to research because the parent company is not required to report on each of them individually. When researching a subsidiary, read reports about the parent company carefully and look for specific references to the subsidiary.

How do you identify if a company is public, private, or a subsidiary of a larger company? Check a database.

Panorama of Boston, Massachusetts

Panorama of Boston as viewed from Boylston Street, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. [Photograph]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica ImageQuest.

Company Research

To cite this LibGuide use the following templates:

APA: Northern Essex Community College Library. (Date updated). Title of page. Title of LibGuide. URL

MLA: Northern Essex Community College Library. "Title of Page." Title of LibGuide, Date updated, URL.