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CPT 118 - Research an Organization (Morrison)

This guide will help you research an organization.

2. Select a Company

The first thing you need to do before you begin your research paper is to select a company that you're going to write about. Keep in mind that private companies may not have as much information freely available as public companies do.  Consider the following:

  • Which company would you most want to work for? 
  • Which company would have the most complete information available online?
  • Which company do you think would be the easiest to write about?
  • Which company would you have the most to say about? 

Now it's time to look for some initial background research on your company.  Start by browsing your company's website.  Then try a search in the following database to learn more about your topic.

Analyze Your Company

Who founded the company? Who are the top executives? Who are the competitors?Magnifying Glass

What product or service is offered by the company?  What is the industry?
When was the company founded?
Where is the company located? Where is their headquarters?
Why do you want to work there?


What is a NAICS Code?

NAICS stands for North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).  Every organization has a NAICS code that describes their industry.  When you're exploring a database (like Hoover's), look for your company's NAICS code.  Knowing your company's NAICS code will help you understand the industry in which your business operates.  You can even look for area competitors by searching the NAICS code.

Microsoft's NAICS code is 511210 (Software Publishers)

Apple's NAICS code is 334220 (Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing)

Spartanburg Community College's NAICS code is 611310 (Colleges, Universities & Professional Schools)


What is a SWOT Analysis?

A SWOT analysis is an analysis of your company's Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT).  Most of the Library's business databases will provide SWOT information for your company.  Reading the SWOT information can help you analyze your business and the issues they may face.