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Ekstrom Library

Business: Industry Research

Subject Guide for Business

Search Tips for Industry Research

When conducting industry research, it is important to be creative and flexible while searching for information. 

  • Identify the industry by name and classification code. While it's important to have a clearly defined industry, remain mindful of the larger industries that industry may be a part of as well as related niche industries. You may need to broaden or narrow your search.
  • Create a list of terms and codes to use when searching. Think of synonyms and related terms for keyword searches. We all conceptualize information differently so it's important to search using different terms to ensure you get the best results. 
  • Use multiple resources. Try different databases, trade associations, news sources, and internet resources.

Industry Reports

Industry Classification Codes

Every industry is given a classification code by the U.S. government. The two main classification systems are:

  • NAICS (North American Industry Classification System): 6-digits
  • SIC (Standard Industrial Classification): 4-digit

While some databases will allow you to search for the appropriate NAICS code, the government websites below can help you identify the correct NAICS and SIC codes for a particular industry. There may be multiple codes relevant to the industry you are researching.

Trade Associations

♦ Trade Associations 

Trade association websites frequently provide links to reports and information relevant to specific industries. While some information may only be accessible to members, often free information can be found on these websites. You can find relevant trade associations by doing a Google Search for your industry name + association. For example: automobile association.