Case Studies

Case Study #1: Wendy's (a publicly-traded corporation)

  • In all cases, it's a good idea to get oriented to your research by looking at a guide. BPL's Business and Career Library, for example, has a nice starting point with "How Do I Research a Company?".
  • It's useful to know the ticker symbol, which a quick search engine search (for keywords [(your company's name) ticker symbol]) will turn up.
  • SEC filings for Wendy's
  • Search in Business Insights (accessible through BPL, among other libraries). McDonald's has a SWOT document, and note the difference an apostrophe makes when you do a search for McDonalds vs McDonald's.
  • Search in ReferenceUSA (same access as above). Look up Emil Brolick, the CEO, to see what other businesses and organizations he's on the board of.
  • Look up donations and lobbying activities on
  • Search Wendy's on PR Watch.
  • Some of the chatter on Financial BoardCentral may be useful.

Case Study #2: Koch Industries (a private corporation)

Question from a participant: How can you find out who they're donating to besides the politicians? Try searching for news articles, reports from organizations that work on various issues. Strategies for working with long text documents - do CTRL-F (or Command-F on a Mac) to jump directly to relevant keywords such as "donor," "contribute," forms of the verb "donate," etc. Also use those keywords with the name of your target in periodical database searches for news articles.

Case Study #3: The Chamber of Commerce