How to research companies
Contents 2 Introduction
How to use this guide Golden rules of research Structuring your research
Getting a basic overview of the company
The Annual Report The company website Industry sources SEC records
NGOs Libraries - Local libraries - University libraries - Copyright and specialist libraries The Web - Search engines - Useful web techniques The Media - Media sources on the web - CD-Roms and indexes Industry sources - Company sources - Trade associations and professional institutes - Trade journals - Market research - Business directories - Business websites - Analysts' reports Government sources - Quangos - Using company registrars - Regulators Interviews
How to find out about a company's…
Offices/sites Directors Shareholders Strategy and prospects Analysts Advisors Political links Public relations Environmental policy Funding of research
6 7 8 9
'Digging the Dirt'
Activist websites Alternative media Government sources Mainstream media Other sources Reliability of information Further reading And finally…
The Corporate Watch DIY Guide to H o w t o r e s e a r c h c o m p a n i e s
If you're campaigning against a company, the success or failure of your campaign will crucially depend on the information at your disposal. Whether you want to visit the company's office, target its directors or shareholders, or produce hard-hitting leaflets or reports, you will need to know your way around a few basic resources. This is actually easier than most people think. For example, people often phone Corporate Watch asking for the addresses of a company's sites in their area, but they hadn't thought of looking in their phone book! So this basic guide on how to research a company is an attempt to break down the mystique surrounding research. Anyone can find out about a company, with just a little time and imagination. And it's extremely satisfying to feel you've stitched up a company just by getting to know it better. This guide relates to researching UK companies. The directories, media and libraries are all British. However, some of the techniques may be transferable to other countries, and of course the web is international. We assume the reader has access to the world-wide web. Many of the sources here are available by traditional means (and we give those too), but in this age of technological apartheid, the web makes research both easier and more comprehensive. Even if you don't have a terminal, you probably know someone who does, or can use one in a library or cyber-café. We also assume that the reader knows basically how to use the web (if not, there are countless people, companies and books who'd love to tell you!), so we only explain how to apply this to research. Obviously, it's easier to find out about a large company than a small one, and a local company than a distant one. The smaller and further away they get, the more you will have to use your imagination!
Golden rules of research
There are 4 things we suggest you keep in mind while doing your research. They will all save you time and frustration in the long run:
1) know what you want
- before you start, be very clear about what kind of information you need for your campaign. Beware of information addiction - if you don't know exactly what you want, you can spend hours picking up reams of 'information', which is all very interesting, but in the end no real use.
2) ask someone else
- at the start of your research, you should scope what other researchers and campaigners have already done that could be helpful, to avoid duplication of work. Always ask your contacts whether they can produce or suggest written sources, or other people to speak to.
‘The earth 3) look for leads is not dying, it is - throughout your research, look not just for being...