Business Research Strategies

Doing business research can be a daunting experience, especially when it involves data (and it almost always does). Where does one begin? What is the next step? What sources of information are there? As a guide, consider these five broad areas of business research questions:

Companies and Organizations

  1. How does the company compare with others of its size and of its industry?
  2. How is the company managing critical issues and trends? Is its strategy sound?
  3. How does the company communicate with all of its stakeholders? (customers, investors, employees, the media)
  4. How does its future look? Are you optimistic about its future?

Industries and Products

  1. What does the industry do/produce?
  2. What are the most critical issues and emerging trends currently driving this industry?
  3. Who are the major players in this industry?
  4. How have technology, globalization and competition affected this industry?

Topics and Events

    General questions to consider:
  1. What is the issue?
  2. Who does it impact?
  3. What are the challenges?
  4. Is there a(nother) solution?
    e.g. foreign investment:
  1. What are the country's size, location, population, capital, natural resources?
  2. Are its political climate and regulatory environment favorable toward business?
  3. What about the country's major economic drivers?
  4. What are the most important investment trends in the country?

Economic and Financial Data

  1. production and trade of goods and services
  2. financial and equity markets
  3. price indexes and consumption patterns
  4. labor and employment
  5. income and wages

Demographics and Consumers

  1. Who are my potential customers? (age, gender, income, marital or family status, race or ethnicity)
  2. Where are my potential customers? (geography, industry, supply chain)
  3. What are the current consumption patterns? (expenditures, frequency, brands, distribution channels)
  4. What new products or services might be sugested by demographic changes?

Go to the Rutgers University Libraries Business Research Guide
Ka-Neng Au (
Revised 16 August 2011