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This online research guide will help you find the best research sources for your semester paper. Below, you'll find a video about suggested search tools and how to use them, an online activity to practice using them, and more information about recommended search tools.
VIDEO: recommended search tools and strategies for your semester paper
From your syllabus: your research paper assignment
This is to be an original team research paper on a company selected as one of Fortune Magazine's Top 100 Companies to Work For This paper is to be word processed, double spaced in research format with proper citation. The paper is to be a minimum of ten pages in length. It must have a bibliography with at least 5 sources, as well as, citations in the body. The paper should be divided into the sections noted in the Semester Paper Scoring Rubric. Each of these topics will be covered during this class. You should review the relevant chapters in the textbook as you prepare each section of the paper. This paper will require current information about the company via Internet, journals and periodicals, newspapers or annual reports. You also must justify why you think this company made the top 100 list.
As a team of 5, select a company in Fortune’s Top 100 Companies to Work For. Your project should include sections for all areas noted in the following rubric with discussion of challenges and opportunities in each area. Your paper should include reference to at least 5 sources of secondary data (although you may find you have many more). Your group will submit one semester paper and make a presentation to the class.
HOW TO CITE:
A general guide to MLA citation is in the second tab over in this guide. However, sometimes citation of business sources is a little different. Check out this excellent guide to MLA citation in business databases from Miami University.
Best bet tools for your semester paper
You can efficiently find the information required by your semester paper rubric using a couple of the library's search tools.
Ebsco’s Business Source Premier or Business Full Text
Once you have chosen your company, you first stop for company information will be Hoover's Online, a library business search tool that has company, industry, and market information.
Here's a short video that shows a few Hoover's Online features:
Statista is your next stop. Statista might have other information that you might need to research items on your rubric such as demographic environment, competitive analysis, and global presence.
Sections to look out for in Statista:
Statistics: clearly presented data points related to your company
Forecasts and Surveys: projections for sales, revenue, prices, and other information, survey results conducted by Statista and partners
Topics: collected information on specific demographic groups, industries, or other collected data
Dossiers: quick quantitative overview of a topic
Additional Studies: can give you an idea of other questions being asked about your topic
Expert tools - markets: provide more granular forecasts for different market segments
First, try a search for your company name. Statista might have useful statistics that pertain directly to your company.
The library has several search tools that may make this research quicker and more efficient than Google.The library's article search allows you to search our EBSCO databases to fulfill the requirements of your rubric.
To research the political and legal environment of an industry, try a search in Hoover's Online to find a business' NAICS code. Then try a search in Business Search Premier using the NAICS code and a search word like "legal" or "political" to look at articles about the legal, political, and regulatory environment in that industry. A SWOT analysis for the industry may also provide this information.
Here's a short video that shows how to do this search.
As a part of your assignment, you need to research several aspects of your chosen company. From your syllabus:
Introduction: Report on the company history, products & services, locations, size, sales, industry, etc.
Political-Legal Environment: Research the laws that impact this industry.
Demographic Environment: Research the demographic shifts in the US and how they influence the availability (or change) of customers and employees.
Economic Environment: Research the US economic indicators and economic predictions, and potential impact.
Social-Cultural Environment: Research US societal and industry trends, and impact on industry
Technological Environment: Research technology use in the company including operations, marketing, communications and more.
Competitive Analysis: Research 3 top competitors. Report sales, locations, # of employees, history, business model for each. How is each competitor similar to and different from the company studied?
Global Presence: Choose one country where the company has the largest presence and report on their global strategy, workforce, and external environmental factors that influence their business model in that country. If your company does not have a global presence, choose one country where you think would make the most sense for global expansion and report on the requirement above. Explain why you think this would be a good country for expansion.
Social Responsibility: Research the company’s sustainability, green management, and philanthropic efforts. Report on how the company encourages ethical behavior.
Corporate Strategy: Report the company’s mission, vision, goals, business model, and competitive advantage. Is this company’s strategy based on growth, development, diversification, etc.?
Organizational Structure: Include and explain the company’s organizational chart, discuss the chain of command, and explain how the company is structured (functional, geographic, by customer, by product, etc.)
Human Resources: Research the # of employees, the recruitment and selection process (tools and resources used), training & orientation for new employees, compensation and benefits offered compared to industry standards. Describe any perks offered.
Managing Employees: Report on any evidence of how employees are motivated. How is information communicated? Provide examples of upward, downward, lateral, or diagonal communications. Explain how the organization uses teams. How diverse is the organization? How does the organization promote and support diversity? How would you describe the organizational culture?
Leadership: Who are top managers? What are their backgrounds (academic, experience) and what evidence can you find of their leadership styles?
Control Process: Report on organizational performance against stated goals. How are employee evaluated (MBO? 360? How often? By whom?) Report on the financial performance of the organization over the last 3 years. How does the organization control quality? Describe corporate governance.