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Legal Research Fundamentals

Getting Started

Business research is in fact just a specific application of the Non-Legal Research strategies we previously discussed. When you're working with an area outside the law, in general you should think about:

  1. Getting guidance on the research, by finding a research guide -- e.g. Googling "business research guide" will point you to the Harvard Business School library's incredibly rich bank of guides on how to conduct various aspects of business research, or you can go straight to your home library's guides
  2. Working with appropriate secondary sources, e.g. business news for the latest on the company you're investigating
  3. Identifying the right tool for finding primary material, e.g. the databases Van Pelt recommends for business news research
  4. Getting help using those resources and getting un-stuck in your research, whenever necessary! The Lippincott business librarians at Van Pelt have created an FAQ answer bank, and can be contacted directly with any really tricky questions not answered by the FAQ.

Company Information

If you need to look up information about a specific company, e.g. PhotoMedex, there are a number of options suggested by the Lippincott librarians in their research guide.

A couple of the more user-friendly for a non-business user are Hoover's, and Bloomberg Law. Both of these offer basic company information, including incorporation details, leadership details and contacts, and financial disclosures. You may find Bloomberg Law a more familiar interface to work with as a first step, and then turn to Hoover's for even more information.

Another option for more complete company information is available through the full Bloomberg terminal, one of which is available in Biddle's Computer Lab. For expert help in using the terminals, you may also want to visit the business library and get help from the librarians in person

Useful Legal Secondary Sources

There are more resources listed under the transactional, litigation, and corporate tabs of this guide, but don't forget about some of the most useful practice resources out there.

Industry Information

For the best databases for finding information on a particular industry, please check out the Lippincott Industry Studies Guide, listed below. 

Business News and Articles

News sources can supplement your search for information on companies and industries, and for non-public companies may be the major source of available information. While the general news aggregators are great tools in general, you may want to start with one of the databases below when you have a business question, as they limit the universe of sources searched to just those with a business focus.

News and Current Awareness

News items in major world newspapers and media outlets can often be located on their webpages, or with a well employed Google News search. However, there are a few very useful resources when doing comprehensive news searching: