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Business Resources: Research an Industry

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S.G. Maldonado-Velez
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Research an Industry

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How to Use the Best Bet Industry Databases

What You Need to Know about Industries

Industry research can be tricky because different people define industries in different ways.  You have to know what your industry is called before you can research it.

In the U.S., the government defines industries with NAICS and SIC codes.  If you know the code for your industry, you'll be able to research it specifically in lots of databases.

Databases that focus on international industries and markets use generic industry titles like "Hot Beverages in China" or "Athletic Facilities in Chile."  Search for broad terms that describe your target industry, then use the navigational options in each database to narrow down your search.

Most industry research databases get their information from government reports, in-country surveys, and through personal contacts with business leaders.  These databases are considered reliable sources for industry information.  As always, check the date and authorship of each resource to ensure that it's appropriate for your use.

SIC and NAICS Codes

Every five years, the US government conducts an Economic Census to learn about the state of industry in America.  Based on this information, they design a coding system that helps to track these industries over the next five years.

There are two kinds of codes you should know about: