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BUSN 1305: Introduction to Business: Business Functions Home

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Research Guide

These links provide a step-by-step guide to research as well as help using the catalog and databases.

Researching Business Topics

What is an industry code?

It is a numeric method of classifying/identifying companies by their main line of business for the purpose of monitoring industry performance.  Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) is a 4-digit code in use until the signing of the NAFTA treaty.  In 1997 a 6-digit system known as the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) replaced the SIC code.  Canada and Mexico are included in NAICS system.

Why is this important?

  • Easy to idenfiy specific companies within an industry.
  • Many companies have more than one industry code.
  • Serveral print & electronic resources use these codes for grouping related companies and industries.

Where can I find an industry code?

There are a variety of resources to use to locate an industry code for a specific industry.  The resources listed are good starting places.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

SIC manual search by keywords to access detailed information for a specified SIC, Division, or Major Group; and browse through the manual structure. Although replaced by NAICS, many reference works still organize industries by SIC and is used in older econmic census information.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

NAICS is a six digit system that is used to classified business activity across North America. It was developed jointly by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to provide new comparability in statistics about business activity across North America. It is a system which organizes industries by codes.  It has replaced the SIC system.

Lexis Nexis database

Under "Get Company Info," in the bottom right-hand corner of the database homepage, enter the name of the company you want to learn about. Select the company from the list of results, being sure to select the parent company. This will take you to the company profile, which includes the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code, under "Industry Classification."

 

Characteristics of "Good Information"

  •    Accurate
  •    Relevant
  •    Timely
  •    Understandable
  •    Secure

Have you ever heard of Data Smog? A term coined by author David Shenk, it refers to the idea that too much information can create a barrier in our lives. This data smog is produced by the amount of information, the speed at which it comes to us from all directions, the need to make fast decisions, and the feeling of anxiety that we are making decisions without having ALL the information that is available or that we need.

Information Literacy is the set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. Why is Information Literacy important?

Information literacy is the solution to Data Smog. It allows us to cope by giving us the skills to know when we need information and where to locate it effectively and efficiently. It includes the technological skills needed to use the modern library as a gateway to information. It enables us to analyze and evaluate the information we find, thus giving us confidence in using that information to make a decision or create a product.

Resources in this LibGuide will help you overcome Data Smog and find "Good Information" resources.

There are many places to get information about business resources.  A good place to start for company information is the company's own website.  These can be either:

  • The "brand" website, this is primarily used to promote the business to the customer so has an advertising focus, e.g., shop with online payment services and good.
  • The "corporate" website, which is primarily used for other businesses, newspapers, the media and students/staff doing research.  You'll find annual reports, news and press releases, stock ticker symbol, corporate information and lists of key members of staff.  The corporate home pages sometimes have investor pages with relevant investor information.

Be sure to use the Corporate site rather than the Brand, or consumer, site. For example, Walmart.com is the consumer site, and WalmartStores.com is the Corporate site. A couple of Web sites to find appropriate corporate Web sites are Yahoo Finance and Google Finance. When looking for investor information, you may need to use a website's "Site Map" to find the Corporate information. Here is an example of a Site Map for Apple.com.


This guide also features many resources you can use to find information about specific companies and industries. If you think of other resources that would be good to list here, please leave a comment.

Ticker symbols are short abbreviations representing publicly traded shares of a particular traded stock on a particular stock market.  An easy place to find a ticker symbol is by searching Business Insights: Essentials  by company name. On the company profile, the ticker symbol is located in the upper left-hand corner of the company profile.

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