To help select the right microphone for a particular application, most reputable microphone manufacturers publish technical-performance data for each microphone in their product line. This data is really not as mystifying as it might seem at first glance. In act, for purposes of matching the microphone to the application, there are basically four distinctive things that you need to know about any microphone - its directional characteristic, its frequency range, its sensitivity and its impedance. The paper is a simple primer of each of these.
This paper costs $33 for non-members and is free for AES members and E-Library subscribers.