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Finding Industry Information: A Research Guide  

This is a guide to finding information about industries using resources available from the University Libraries.
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2013 URL: http://libguides.library.albany.edu/industry Print Guide RSS Updates

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Before You Begin

This guide is intended to serve as a starting point for researching industry information using both print and electronic resources available through the University at Albany Libraries. Call numbers for print materials listed here are for materials located in the University Library. Call numbers beginning with the prefix “Ref” are in the Reference area on the first floor, and those with the prefix “RBR” are at the Reserve Desk on the basement level.

Please note: databases having the  icon can only be accessed from off campus if you are a registered library borrower. You must have a SUNY card issued by the University at Albany AND currently be affiliated with the university as faculty, staff or student. For more information on accessing these resources remotely, see Off-Campus Access Instructions.

Many more resources are available than are covered here. More business-related resources are available which may contain useful information about industries. To get a complete list of databases available through the University Library, use the "Databases and Indexes" link to the left.  If you would like more assistance, please use the "Ask a Librarian" link.

Define the Industry

Industries are classified in many ways, and it will simplify your research if you first determine the scope of the business activity you wish to examine. Often, your need for data may include only a single product or a small range of products. However, many standard resources for industry information may define an industry based on broader criteria, such as SIC or NAICS codes. For example, you may wish to locate market information about pretzels, yet most relevant industry reports may be based on SIC code 2052, "Cookies and Crackers," which also covers pretzels.

Finding the Appropriate SIC and NAICS Codes

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes provide a mechanism for classifying like businesses together. They can be used to determine industry financial norms. Because companies are often involved in more than one line of business, they may have more than one SIC or NAICS code.  Search the 1987 SIC manual:

Standard Industrial Classification Search (from OSHA)

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes are being phased in to replace SIC codes, but many standard reference works still use the SIC codes. You can look up NAICS codes and convert SIC codes to NAICS codes at:

North American Industry Classification System

How to Approach Industry Research

The following sources may provide some guidance in getting started doing industry and market research:

  • How to Prepare a Market Analysis
    From the Edward Lowe Foundation, this site provides a checklist of resources for gathering market data provides perspective regarding common market research tools and methods.
  • Market Research
    From the Small Business Administration, this site outlines how to conduct market research.

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Guide originally created by Mary Van Ullen.

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