Researching Emerging, Niche, Obscure, Illegitimate and Other Difficult to Research Industries
Larger consumer-goods industries are generally easy to research. Most of the companies in these industries trade stock, so there is plenty of financial information available on them. Brokerage firms analyze and track them and they are covered in the financial press. They also tend to be older, established industries, and the industry data collected and disseminated by the government reflects their presence.
Other industries are more difficult because:
They may be small, or a sub-sector of a larger industry. Data about these small industries may get aggregated into larger industries by the government, publishers or brokerage firms;
They may be relatively new, and not yet reflected in the classification schema (SIC and NAICS codes) used by the government;
The industry product is sold to a business rather than a consumer. This may be difficult to research because the standard information created to drive consumer sales (advertising, promotional blurbs, etc.) will not exist.
A number of key institutions are nonprofit organizations;
They are not yet perceived by the business press as legitimate industries. Some of these are legal activities and others are not.
This strategy addresses legitimate industries. You can approach these industries with a five-fold strategy:
- Factiva: Search by word or phrase. You can search all publications or select "Source" to limit the publications you want to search.
- ABI/Inform through ProQuest: Keyword search, or look under the "Broswe" module and click on the "Industry Trends & Forecast" link to find article results by specific industries.
- General Business File ASAP: Keyword search and refer to the "Narrow by Subdivision" option that relates to your industry.
- Search for articles on your industry in Lexis-Nexis Academic using the 'Sources' tab and clicking the "Industry" radio button.
- EBSCO Business Source Complete contains full-text access to the Harvard Business Review, McKinsey Quarterly, and other prominent business publications. (This is only available to Marshall Business students via your MyMarshall account).
- Wilson Business Full-Text: Keyword search by word or phrase.
- Gale Virtual Reference Library: Keyword search by industry name, or click on the Business module to find profile information on many industries.
Often an industry appears as a trend in the popular press before it appears in the business press. This is true of many products and industries that may seem more like a fad than an established industry.
In Factiva you can limit your search to a specific group of publications. Click on "Source" and select the exact publications you want to search.
Use Lexis-Nexis Academic Guided News Search: click on the Sources tab to drill down to select US states or foreign countries and select major papers from the source list.
- OnlineNewspapers contains links to regional publications in the United States and around the world.
Trade associations are made up of companies in a given industry. They usually exist to collect industry data, promote the industry and lobby government officials regarding issues affecting the industry. They typically organize trade shows and expositions as well where you can meet industry experts.
You can find a list of industry and other associations in the Encyclopedia of Associations (Business Reference Desk HS17.G3362). This is also available full-text online in Business & Company Resource Center database. Select "Advanced Search", and in the Content Area highlight "Associations" and in the first search field type in your keywords.
You can try to locate an industry association's website in a number of different ways. Because most associations have the domain ".org," any search engine that allows you to limit by domain, such as Google, can be used.
Go to the search engine and click on "Advanced search". In the search box type in your search term. Scroll down to "Limit by domain." Type in ".org." Review the results list. If this doesn't work well, try different terms for your industry (i.e., bridal, wedding, wedding planners) or try another search engine.
Given all the journals indexed in Lexis-Nexis Academic, Factiva and other databases, it may seem as if you have access to everything, but there are hundreds of trade journals, magazines, and newletters that don't appear in these services. Many of them put out special issues on the state of the industry that include statistics, buyer's guides, forecasts and trends.
To get a complete listing of these, use the Standard Rate and Data Service (SRDS). This can help you locate these magazines and it can also help you determine which if any of these magazines you can advertise in. In addition to describing what's published in a given magazine, it will also give an overview of advertising rates and subscription information.
The SRDS has several pieces. The two that are of the most interest when doing industry research are the SRDS Business Publication Advertising Source (trade journals and magazines) and the SRDS Consumer Magazine Advertising Source. These are located in the periodicals section of the Crocker Business library.
Also, use internet search engines (such as Google) to find trade magazines and newletters. Simply type in your industry name followed by "magazine" (i.e.: bridal industry magazine; wedding industry magazine)
Fedstats is a listing of U.S. government sites that contain statistical information. You can search by agency or by topic; look through the list of government agencies to see if any of them might be related to your industry. (For example, if you were research HMOs, you could look at the National Center for Health Statistics, the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research or the Health Care Financing Administration for statistics.) You can also do a topic and keyword search for sites.
CIS Statistical Universe provides a listing of both online and printed sources of statistics from industry, government and other sources.
For further assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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