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Industry Research

This guide provides a list of resources used for industry research.


This guide provides a list of resources used for industry research. You can find different types of information sources on the blue list of links to the left, each of which provides links to those sources through library subscription databases and web sites. Gather information from a variety of information sources and then synthesize the information to gain a complete view of the industry you are researching. 

Types of Information Sources



  • Industry reports

An industry report or analyst report will analyze, in great detail, key market indicators, such as: market composition, projected market growth, top companies and brands, competitive situation, consumers and much more.  Examples include: Industry Reports, Company Reports, Emerging Markets, and Global Retail Reports. If an industry report is not available, look for a report on a leading company in the industry.

Key Temple subscription databases: IBIS World, Mergent OnlineMergent WebReports, Mergent ArchiveMintel Market Research Reports Academic, and S & P's Global NetAdvantage.

  • White papers 

A white paper is a document which provides a concise explanation of a complex issue and which presents the views about that issue of whatever individual or organization published the white paper.  In the world of business, white papers are produced about products, technologies, and policies by companies, organizations, and government agencies.

Key Internet sources:, OpenText Analytics and TechRepublic.

  • Conference papers and proceedings

A conference proceeding is any publication containing papers presented at a formal meeting of professionals, issued in conjunction with that meeting as its official expression in publication form.  A conference article is any paper presented at a conference, whether published in a conference proceedings or elsewhere.  

Start with these key Internet sources: Conference Papers Index and Google Scholar and WorldCat.



  • Popular magazines and newspapers

Popular magazines that aim to serve the broad public sometimes include articles about business and industries.

Key Temple subscription database: Academic Search Complete.

  • Business Magazines & Newspapers 

Business magazines and financial newspapers specialize in only business news, which include both stories and statistics like key indicators and stock market prices.

Key Temple subscription database: Proquest Newsstand. Proquest Newsstand includes the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

  • Trade journals

Trade journals are like business periodicals but are more in-depth, and are written about a particular field or industry, by and largely for professionals in it.  Most offer not only news stories and statistics, but industry reports as well.

Key Temple subscription databases: Business Source Complete. Business Source Complete includes the Harvard Business Review.

  • Scholarly or professional journals

Scholarly and professional journals are even more serious in addressing an industry than popular business publications or trade journals.  They're written and checked by experts and address major questions in a methodical and scientific way.  They may include statistics, but only to support their individual inquiries-- not on a regular basis.

Key Temple subscription database: ABI/INFORM Complete 



The case study method is when a real or fictitious business or organizational problem is presented to allow for intensive investigation of the relevant issues and explore potential solutions.   It is intended to develop problem-solving skills.  Many fields use the case study method and therefore different types of case studies can be found.

NOTE: Due to licensing restrictions Temple Libraries DO NOT have access to Harvard Business School Case Studies.  

Key Temple subscription database: Business Insights: GlobalBusiness Source CompleteABI/INFORM Complete.



  • Government information and data

Large amounts of information useful to those studying particular industries are produced by and for government organizations and are distributed by them. This data are particularly useful for marketing research, gathering economic indicators, locating new laws that may impact industries, etc.

Key resources:​ and

  • Non-Governmental Organizations

NGOs vary a great deal, but collect and offer data on many issues having potential relevance to industries, including economic, trade, technological, political and cultural issues. 

Key resources: World Bank PublicationsIMF Financial Statistics, and OECD Reports.  

Professional associations and organizations can also provide information on an industry.

Key Temple subscription databases for locating associations/organizations: Encyclopedia of associations. National organizations of the U.S.International organizations, and Regional, state, and local organizations.



Many financial ratios, such as the price-to-earnings ratio, the debt-to-equity ratio and the gross and net margins are invaluable in surveying the state of a particular industry.

Key Temple subscription databases: IBISWorldMergent Online and Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage.



Books are a good source of detailed information about a subject - such as an industry.  Also subject focused reference books (encyclopedias, directories, handbooks, etc) are a reliable source of historical and factual information.  ​

Key Temple resources: Use Summon, or Diamond to locate specialized books by topic, name or keyword.

Additional key resources: Reference Sources in the Database Finder