BA 301 Research & Analysis of Business Problems: Industry Info

Research Tips

There are three main sources for industry information:

  • Industry reports/profiles through Library databases: relatively comprehensive overview (e.g., size, forecast, main players, current issues). A very new or niche industry may not have a dedicated report. 
  • Industry associations: may provide unique data and analysis not available elsewhere and some information may be free on the website.
  • General media: newspapers, business magazines, trade publications, industry blogs. Use them to be informed of current developments related to an industry. They are especially useful if one cannot find a dedicated industry report. Use library article databases or do a Google search.

Which industry does your company operate in?

Two tips on finding out what industry or industries a company operates in:

  • Most library databases that provide Company Profiles will include the primary industry (and sometimes secondary industries) the company is in. For example, in Business Insights: image of company profile in Business Insights
  • In IBISWorld, type in your company's name (or a main player's name if your company doesn't yield good results) to find relevant industry information: ibisworld company name search

Industry & Market Research Reports

Industry/Trade Associations

An industry association is established to advocate for the industry and associated companies. They collect and provide unique data/articles/reports. Sometimes these sources are on their websites for free.

To find the industry association websites:

  • Do a Google search with keywords followed by "association".
  • Industry profiles in library databases may have a section for related associations. For example, in the IBISWorld report, look under the External Environment -> Assistance -> Non-government section.

Industry Classifications

Industry classification systems are created to promote data comparability. NAICS (current version) and SIC (older version) are the most widely used in the United States. You can search by codes to find information on industries or sectors in many databases and government websites. However, NAICS and SIC focus on broader industry activities and may not have a specific code for niche/emerging industries. Many databases (e.g., Hoover's) also have their own classification systems.