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Business Research Guide

This guide will help you research on various business topics and disciplines

Online Resources

Government organizations produce, compile and distribute vast amounts of business-related information. Much of the data are especially useful for marketing research, gathering economic indicators, locating new laws that may impact industries, and much more. Examples include: Economic Census, Annual Survey of Manufactures, Federal Reserve Beige Book, SEC Staff Accounting Bulletins, and the Consumer Expenditure Survey.

A commonly used government search engine is In Google, you can also enter your search terms with "site:gov". For example, census site:gov. This limits your search results to only government websites.

Polls and surveys provide insight – and quantitative data – into the full spectrum of public interest including politics and government, public institutions, international relations, business, social affairs and consumer behavior and preferences. Examples of major polls include: include: Gallup, Harris, Roper, ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal.

NGOs provide essential international data on a wide range of issues such as political, socio-cultural, economic, technology, trade, and related information. Examples include: World Bank PublicationsIMF Financial Statistics, United Nations Papers, OECD Reports, and many more. 


White papers are documents released by companies, organizations, and government agencies to authoritatively describe products, technologies, and policy. Though a white paper is not necessarily an unbiased report, it will typically provide a more detailed overview than press releases and many other forms of documentation. In addition to providing information, however, white papers are also often used for marketing purposes. As a result, it is not uncommon for different vendors to produce competing white papers on the same topic. There are literally thousands of white papers covering a broad range of topics. 

To find white papers, start with Harvard's Think Tank Search. The Think Tank searches across more than 1,200 think tanks and research centers. You can also run a Google search, such as:

"mobile computing" "white paper" OR report site:edu

This example searches on the phrase "mobile computing" combined with the words "white paper" or report. Using "site:edu" means only educational sites are searched. You can also use "site:gov" to search only governmental sites.