Kingwood College Library

Assignment Guide


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 or write to Linda Holcomb using your WebCT email with any questions you may have during your research.


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, with industry overviews, is in Value Line, see Stocks Covered in the Value Line Investment Survey. For more in depth research, ask the librarian for a password.

Assignment: Briefly explain the importance of each item.

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(s) that is provided by this industry/company and the type of custormers they sell to.
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.

Additionally: Pick at least two or more of the following items from the list below to include in your presentation.  Choose items most appopriate 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.  How each company has dealt with those problems/questions.
2. Whether or not the industry/companies are involved in international trade and global business. If so, in what way? and with which companies?
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 comapny deals with this regulation.
14. Any other major issues that applies to your industry (TO USE THIS CATEGORY AS ONE OF YOUR TWO, YOU MUST CLEAR IT WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR).


Librarian Talk about Books!
  • Apply online for a library card.   Use your card to 1) Place a Hold on a book  2) Access databases from home. 
  • The catalog is online at 
  • Electronic books or eBooks are available at  NetLibrary. You will need to create an eBook account to allow check out for more than 15 minutes.

Create an account - From your computer go to NetLibrary, select the Create an Account link. Enter your identifying information (user name, password, email address) and select Submit. Then you are ready to search the eBook collection and check out books for 24 hours from any computer with Internet access. 

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,

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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 updated library card barcode. If you need assistance finding an article contact the Reference Librarians and they will see that you get the article. They will need full bibliographic information - and your name and address. Send your phone number as well, so they can contact you if they need to. 

                 Use your library card to login to these online journal databases. 

The following databases contain information on industries and companies.

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Librarian Talk about the Internet!

The Internet will 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 be researched and show proof that it has been 
  •       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. 

 UNACCEPTABLE SOURCE SAMPLE - This appears to be part of a book (the subject is not business but it is a good example) however there is nothing we can see that tells you title, author, dates, publisher or any of the other needed information. 

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.

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Librarian Talk
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: