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Industry Research

This guide will help you understand industries of all kinds

Research Hints

When researching an industry, consider the following: 

  • Is your industry a segment of a larger industry? For example, men’s shoes may be part of the larger segment called apparel, which may be part of the larger industry of retail. You will want to look at your industry from the smallest segment to the larger industry.
  • What kind of industry are you studying? Is it service, manufacturing, retail, etc.?
  • Do you know the SIC and NAICS codes for your industry? These are classification codes assigned to industries, and some databases still use them for searching for industries. Information on searching SIC and NAICS codes are below in Descriptions and Overviews.

Starting with Google? Might be good for...

  • Professional associations (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, American Bakers' Association, etc.)
  • Web sites for companies within your industry
  • Some articles, fact sheets, statistics
  • Pricing, logos, images

Industry Descriptions and Overviews

News and Trends

Professional Associations:

These are great for finding out what people in the profession or industry area are reading and thinking about, as well as current trends. For many associations, some of the content is freely available, while other content is available to members only. To find industry associations, try these tools:

Association Directory
This is a freely available web site that allows you to search for professional and industry associations by region, category, state, and more.

A quick search on a keyword for your industry (food service, finance, transportation, hospitality, etc.) plus the words association or organization will give you a list of web sites you can view.


Articles and News:

Statistics and Market Share


Porter's Five Forces and SWOT Analysis

Other Companies in Your Industry

Citing Your Sources

Whenever you do research, you will need to cite the information sources that you use. Most business scholars use APA style. Here are some tools that can help you with this task:


Gleeson Library's guide to citations: How? Why? When? 


Getting Help!

There are several ways to obtain assistance with your research. Read on!

The School of Management has a library liaison named Penny Scott, and you can contact her for help. 

Her contact information is: email: * phone: 415-422-5389

It is best to call or email ahead, or make an appointment, to make sure she is available!

If Penny is not available, or any time you need help, you can always get help, just Ask a Librarian!

Ask A Librarian