BUSI 1301: Business Principles - LSC Kingwood

The best library assignments are ones that use a variety of resources including books, newspaper and journal articles, and internet sites. We encourage you to use all of these sources for this paper. Books provide some of the best information for business topics. You may apply for a library card and request materials online. We hope you will take full advantage of the many resources our libraries offer.   Please contact LSC - Kingwood Librarians or write to your instructor via email with any questions you may have.


Librarian Talk About Getting Started!

As you begin, your group will be choosing an industry and two major companies within that industry.  You will want to choose public companies that appear on the major stock exchanges.  Those companies will be well covered in books, databases and also on the Internet. Subjects covered in these sources are: company histories and profiles, business planning, economists, marketing strategies, key competitors, economic indicators, financial information, regional businesses, types of products, SIC and NAICS codes, industry, jobs and careers.

Suggested industries:  Airline,   Oil,   Pharmaceutical,   Auto,   Computer/Information Technology,   Steel,   Retail,   Entertainment,   Agriculture,   Banking/finance,   Health care,   Trucking,   Railroads,  Communications,   Defense,   Internet.  A list of publicly traded companies by industry, can be found in the Security and Exchange Commission's database, EDGAR. EDGAR contains most of the required reports and filings, including financial and annual reports.Go to the link for Companies & Other Filers and enter the SIC (Standard Industrial Classifcation) code (or click on the SIC link to see a list of SIC codes).. For more in depth research, use the library's business databases.

More about choosing keywords (30 sec.)


Each group is to research an industry. The group will then pick at two major companies within the industry to investigate noting both the similarities and the differences of the companies.  The companies must provide a similar type of product.  Please note how the industry influenced these similarities and differences.

Your companies MUST be publicly traded.  There are a number of resources online that can help you find publicly traded companies.  Some of these are Yahoo Finance, CNN money, CNBC, Bloomberg and many more.  The library has an assignment guide to help you with your research.

Each group will turn in a written paper of five to ten pages.  The paper must to cover all 14 points.  Each paper must include a cover page and a works cited page in addition to the five to ten pages required.  Grammar and spelling are important and will be considered in your grade, but your paper will be assessed based on how well you explain the material.  Remember that all work should be in your own words. 

Each group will present a 10 to 15 minute presentation of something that your group learned about the companies and the industry.  The presentation should be interesting and informative to the class.  The presentation should include a power point presentation of 5 to 10 slides that support your presentation with bullet points, graphs, or pictures NO PARAGRAPHS.  The presentation does not need to cover all 14 points, but should be an in depth discussion of one or two areas that your group found interesting and want to explore further.  If you do something creative and innovative in your presentation, you and your group can earn extra credit.


Briefly explain the importance of each item.   Some items can be covered in one or two sentences; some will require more detail. 

  1. An explanation of the industry and the companies within it as they exist currently
  2. A brief history of the industry and the companies you are investigating        
  3. The type of product/products that is provided by this industry/companies and the type of customers.
  4. What influence the industry/companies have on the US economy and conversely,  the influence of the economy on the industry/companies.
  5. How the industry/companies and their decisions have a bearing on the lives of the average American.
  6. The form of competition found in this industry (pure competition, monopolistic, oligopoly, monopoly)
  7. The published mission or vision statement of each corporation.
  8. The most recent fiscal year's sales, expenses, and net profit for each company and how those figures compare with the industry as a whole.
  9. The price per share of common stock for each corporation at the end of the fiscal year and for the quarters of the current fiscal year. 
  10. Pick at least three financial ratios and compare each company to the industry standards.  Are the companies better or worse than the industry standard?  
  11. A brief discussion of the amount of government regulation for this industry.
  12. The types of jobs or careers most frequently found in this industry and the amount of education/training needed for those jobs/careers.

PICK AT LEAST TWO OR MORE ITEMS from the following list to include in your presentation.  It is preferable to use those items that best apply to your industry or companies.  These items need to be discussed in more detail than those above. 

  1. Any serious ethical problems/questions faced by the industry.  Explain how each company dealt with those problems/questions.
  2. Whether or not the industry/companies are involved in international trade and global business.  in what way?  and with which countries?
  3. Any major mergers or diversifications that have/had a serious bearing on the industry.
  4. A comparison of the levels of management within the two companies and the styles of management of the two companies.
  5. The use of a Total Quality Program within the companies.
  6. An overview of the production/operations process within the companies.
  7. The development and implementation of the human resource process.
  8. The presence and importance of unions in the industry.
  9. The presence and importance of small business in the industry and any use of  franchising.
  10. The importance and use of technology within the industry and how each company uses technology.         
  11. Marketing strategies used by each company and the industry including the research and development of new products, how each arrives at pricing decisions, and how products are distributed.
  12. The importance and type of advertising and promotions used by the companies/industry.
  13. The governmental agencies (other than IRS) that have a bearing on this industry and how each company deals with this regulation.
  14. Any other major issue that applies to your industry.  (TO USE THIS CATEGORY AS ONE OF YOUR TWO, YOU MUST CLEAR IT WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR).

Groups who do something creative or add extra value to the paper or presentation will receive extra credit.  All basic requirements for the paper and presentation must be completed before extra credit will be considered.  See your instructor for more information.


Librarian Talk About Books!

  • Online books are available in the Ebook Collection.  Create an account to save favorite book titles and notes.Search for keywords in the text of the book to find specific pages. The library catalog will show electronic books and link you directly into that book when you are on campus, or you can search the Ebook Collection to locate full text online books when you are at home.   
More about finding books (31 sec.)

Here is a small sampling of books your library may have. These and many other very good sources of information can be found by searching the library catalog using keywords such as the company name, industry name, career title, business ratios, mission statements, etc.  
  • REF HD30.285 .H37 Corporate statements : the official missions, goals, principles and philosophies of over 900 companies
    Hard to find mission and vision statements. 
  • HD3612 .D65 Doing Business in 2007; How to reform
    An international overview of regulations governing business practice.  Comparison across 175 countries.  
  • REF HF1001 .E463 Encyclopedia of American Business
    Information about many facets of American Business.
  • REF HF5681 .R25 A45 Almanac of Business and Industrial Financial Ratios
    Features NAICS data covering North America; Canada, United States and Mexico.  Over 50 performance indicators on 192 industries. In LSC North Harris Library
  • REF HF5803 .A38 The Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising [3 Vol.].
    History of marketing by industry and specific company.
  • REF HF5837 .E53 Encyclopedia of Major Marketing Campaigns v. 2
    Case studies of successful marketing efforts.
  • REF HG4057 .A33 Hoover's Handbook of Emerging Companies
    Profiles of up-and-coming companies.

Librarian Talk About Finding Journal and Newspaper Articles!
Electronic databases are purchased by the libraries for your research use. Use them to find articles in newspapers and journals, letters, reference books, illustrations, photographs and more. Home access to article databases is available with your library card barcode. If you need assistance finding an article contact the Reference Librarians. They will need full bibliographic information and your contact information. 

More about searching databases (25 sec.)

Remember, use the barcode number from your Lone Star College ID or library card to login to these online databases from home.

The following databases contain information on industries and companies.
  • Business Source Complete- Business journal articles, market research reports and SWOT analyses. Updated daily. 
  • ProQuest Newspapers- Articles from journals, magazines, and newspapers; Includes Wall Street Journal, Houston Chronicle, and New York Times.
  • Value Line  - Use the Market Review to get current stock information on a particular company. Use the Market Aerial View for an interactive view of the stock market. Use Research Center for comparison charts. Some reports and information require a subscription.
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook - This U. S. Department of Labor database will help you find occupations within an industry.


Librarian Talk About the Internet!

The Internet can be a wonderful source of original documents. Browse the sites we have suggested below. Remember, you do want to find reputable sites. Look at:

  • Accuracy - The information should show proof it has been researched.
  • Source - Look at the domain:  .edu   .gov   .org  .net  are valid research sources. 
  • Authority - What are the author's credentials? (Don't quote from another college freshman's paper.) 
  • Coverage - Does the page have the information you need for your research? 
  • Objectivity - If a work is biased, use it - just make sure your professor knows YOU know. Offer both sides of issues, where applicable. 
  • More about finding internet sources (25 sec.)

    These Internet sites offer all types of information.  Compare statistics and figures from one site to those from others to ensure accuracy.  Many companies have home pages on the Internet, keep in mind the objectivity level of these sites.
    • Hoover's Online - Retrieve information about companies and subsidiaries. Links to competitors and industry information.  To get stock quotes, from the opening screen, click the Money button and enter a company's ticker symbol. Charts give users historical data as well as current data.
    • Industries at a Glance - Provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Profiles of the twelve industry supersectors. Facts about industries with links to additional data.
    • Today in Finance - Information from many sources linked onto one page from Yahoo.  Sources are noted on the bottom of the page.
    • Fortune 500  - Listing of the major companies in the United States and worldwide.  This site can be searched by rank, company name, CEO or industry.  Choose Company Profiles for: revenues, earnings, employees, current and historical stock prices.
    • FreeEDGAR  - Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval system.  The most current free source with today's filings.  Searchable by company.  Good concise source for company profiles, annual reports, stock charts, stock quotes, more.
    • EDGAR - The EDGAR database of corporate information is the Securities and Exchange Commission site for accessing reports and other filings which are required by the government. See the EDGAR tutorial for help using this site.
    • CNNfn Financial Network - CNN's Financial Network includes hot stories and news gathered by the producers of the CNN network.  Updated throughout the day.  Look at Economy for information on current trends, economic indicators and more.  Look at Company Research for information on the companies you are investigating.  Lots of information is available here.
    • Yahoo Finance Industry Center - This Yahoo site offers a great listing of industries from which you can choose an industry to begin seeing major companies, and find comparisons of those companies. Choose and industry and link to the Company Index for that industry to see a list of the companies.

    Librarian Talk About Help!

    Support for a successful paper is more than finding the right resources.  Putting it all together takes time and effort.  Sometimes it takes additional help from the librarians or tutors.   Please consider the following resources if you need additional help.  Remember, the expert on the assignment is your professor; use email to contact her.

    More about getting help (25 sec.)

    Citing Sources Using the LSC-Kingwood Library MLA Style Guide | Examples of both paper and electronic citations.

    Avoiding Plagiarism   |  Excellent information and guide on how to avoid plagiarism from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University.

    University of Texas Copyright Crash Course | This helpful guide on copyright is suggested by Lone Star College-Kingwood Teaching and Learning Center.

    Learning  Center   |   Check our hours for in-house tutoring from the Teaching & Learning Center.

    Page created by Becky Bradley, July, 2002. Updated 7/2011, KMB.

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