Frequently cited business sources encompass a wide range of sources with diverse purposes.  The spectrum ranges from advertisements and white papers designed to sell goods and services to state generated statistics for objectively measuring economic activity to social science research endeavoring to understand and explain our world.

The use of these sources should be made with an awareness of their intended purposes, biases and points of view.   To ascertain point of view or biases it will be helpful to look at the form the publication takes, who authored or published it, and the internal organization of the piece.

  • Recognize that editorials or blogs in newspapers or magazines express opinions and do not adhere to journalistic standards of objectivity.
  • Note that a company report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission must be truthful, whereas company information posted on a web site is not bound by that obligation.
  • Expect research published in scholarly peer reviewed journals to be relatively objective and accurate.
  • Assume that trade and professional publications will champion the sponsoring profession or industry.
  • Recognize that news bias is common, just compare Fox News to The New York Times.
  • Reports published by companies sometimes called White Papers may be sophisticated marketing materials framed to lead the reader to seek out the firms products or services.