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A Guide to Business Research

Getting Startetd with Industry Information

There are many variables which will determine the ease of which to find specific industry information. Some of the factors include:

  • Type/Size of the Industry--You will have an easier time finding information on larger, more established industries as opposed to specialized, smaller industries. For example, you will have an easier time finding information on the airline industry than the basket weaving industry.
  • Location of Industry--As most of the databases you will have access to focus on the American market, you will have an easier time finding information on American Industry.
  • National vs. Local--Most industry reports contain information about national trends, it will be more difficult to find industry information at a state or local level.


The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS pronounced Nakes) is the Census Bureau’s “system for classifying business establishments. It is the first economic classification system to be constructed based on a single economic concept. Economic units that use like processes to produce goods or services are grouped together.” The system is hierarchical with more broad industries at the top of the numerical range.More specific industries have more numbers.

Online Databases

Web Resources

Other Sources for Industry Information

Industry information can be obtained through a variety of types of sources.

  • Market Research Reports--These are an excellent source for industry information. Market research reports will often cover narrower industries than a traditional industry report. You can find a variety of market research reports in Mintel.
  • Trade Publications--As these are published by and for people in a particular industry, they can be rich sources of industry information. Trade publications can be found in a number of different places however, a great place to start is Business Source Complete.
  • Newspapers and Magazines--These can often offer very recent coverage of an industry. News articles can be a good way to find information on your topic, especially in small niche industries.