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Research Tips

Depending on the particular industry you are researching on, information availability can vary greatly. You will probably need to use a range of information sources and include both quantitative (statistics) and qualitative information (descriptive). A few tips:

  • Identify the relevant North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. Many library resources and government websites provide industry information based on the NAICS code.
  • For industry reports, start with IBISWorld, Business Source Premier, and Business Insights.
  • To get more consumer-related information on an industry, use Mintel or Passport.
  • It can be challenging to find readily available information on niche or emerging industries. In that case, try researching the broader (e.g., buttons industry -> clothing accessories) or related/competing industry.
  • Most of the industry information in library databases is based on a country (e.g., Sportswear in the US), rather than a state or city. For regional/local information, check local newspapers (e.g., Portland Business Journal) or government websites (e.g., economic development agency). 
  • Trade associations and trade journals can sometimes provide information not found elsewhere. 

Related Guides

In this Guide

Generally, when doing secondary market research, consider consulting the following sources:

  • Industry profiles and market research reports
  • Articles from trade publications, newspapers, and business magazines
  • Industry or trade associations
  • Interest groups or other relevant organizations (e.g., NPOs & NGOs)
  • Government agencies: data, reports, and experts
  • Press releases from main players
  • Social media
  • User-generated content (discussion forums, review sites, blogs, etc.)

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Subject Librarian

Kerry Wu

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Phone: 503-725-4124
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