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Research Guides

OCT Fieldwork Year 2

Library resources to help with your field work and consulting assignments

SWOT analysis

What is a SWOT analysis?

From Investopedia: "SWOT analysis is a technique for assessing the performance, competition, risk, and potential of a business, as well as part of a business such as a product line or division, an industry, or other entity."

Find out more at

Researching a SWOT requires both company and industry information, including internal details like performance statements and analysis, and impacts of external factors such as trends.

Public Company Research

Federal securities laws require public companies to disclose information on an ongoing basis. This means the public can access financial and other information on the open web. Proprietary databases take this information, analyze and repackage it into (sometimes) a more accessible format.

Select from the resources below to find company profiles or annual reports and audited financial statements.

Private Company Research

Because there are no disclosure requirements for private companies, it can be difficult to find any information about them. 

Your best bet is to cast as wide a net as possible, using the following search strategies:

  1. Use ABI/Inform, Business Source Premier or Factiva to find articles about the company.  You may find a profile of the company in a trade publication or in a local newspaper.
  2. If the company is a startup, search CB Insights for profile and investment information, as well as similar companies in the space.
  3. If the company is large or multinational, check Capital IQ (available in the Finance Labs at Rotman, IMI (UTM) and Management (UTSC)) as they may have some non-financial information. 
  4. Google - check for a company website, LinkedIn page, news articles, etc.
  5. Contact us if you're really stuck.

If the company was previously public but has gone private, you can still access their historical public filings from when they were a public company. Check Mergent.  

Industry research

Searching for the best industry matches for your technology? Technologies may apply across one or more industries and markets - so which one is the right one, right now? Select from the secondary resources below to find more data on your industry.

Non-profits and charities

What is the difference between a non-profit and a registered charity?

"The priority within a for-profit business is to scale your business and create significant revenues for your social cause. On the other hand, a not-for-profit framework best suits a business that intends to use all profits exclusively for promoting its stated social objectives.

A registered charity assumes that all profits go towards your social mission and all profit-making activities meet the definition of a “related business”, as determined by the Canada Revenue Agency. “Related business” includes activity related to the charity as well as unrelated activity so long as the majority of employees involved are volunteers." From - Choosing a Legal Structure for a Social Purpose Business

Charity and Non-Profit Financials

Reading Financial Statements