Here are a few important questions to consider before starting research on a company:
What is the purpose of your research?
Class project? Investment research? Researching a company at which you are applying for a job? Consider the types of information you need to meet your objectives.
What type of company are you interested in?
Public - companies owned by shareholders. In the U.S. these companies are required to register financial data with the government, and that information is accessible by the public
Private - companies whose stocks are not widely traded on stock exchanges. Information on private companies is usually very limited, frequently found in general directories, company websites, and news articles
International - companies headquartered outside the U.S. are still required to file financial reports if they trade on U.S. stock exchanges. Reporting standards for other countries vary widely
Nonprofit - a company or organization that does not distribute profits to owners or shareholders. Examples include charities, associations, foundations, churches and educational institutions. Nonprofits must also file information with the government