Skip to main content
Syracuse University Libraries

Business Information Guide

Industry Research Tips

Identify relevant industry classification codes. With industry classification codes, such as NAICS codes, you can locate industry reports and articles. See "Identifying Industry Classification Codes" box for industry code sources.

Find industry associations. Industry associations often gather industry statistics and data, create industry reports, and publish industry news and articles. This valuable industry information is sometimes made available to non-members either on the association's website or via the Libraries' research databases. Business Insights: Essentials, IBISWorld, and Plunkett are databases that are especially useful for locating industry associations.

Browse industry reports. The Libraries have several databases that provide overviews and in-depth industry information, such as IBISWorld and Business Insights: Essentials.

Read industry articles and publications. Discover industry articles and publications via your feed reader, industry associations, and by using the advanced search of business article databases, such as Business Source Elite and ABI/Inform, to search by NAICS code.
(See the Articles and News tab of the Business Information Guide for tips on article databases and feed readers.)

Identifying Industry Classification Codes

With industry classification codes, you can find business statistics, compare companies within the same industry, and locate industry reports and articles.

Research Tip: If you are having trouble determining the appropriate NAICS or SIC codes, try looking up a few companies within your industry of interest in a company database, such as Business Insights: Essentials. Take a look at the industry codes associated with those companies and then go back to the industry classification system to review the official industry code definitions in order to determine which codes may be most appropriate for your research.

Recommended Databases for Industry Research

Top Three Database Recommendations for Industry Research:

Additional recommended databases for industry research:

Web Resources

Here are a few U.S. Census links that may help you when researching an industry.

SUMMON - Sample Query For Industry Research

SU Libraries SUMMON search engine can help you gather background literature about an industry (and specific company and market research too).  Depicted below is one visual example of a SUMMON search result.

  • Keyword search string entered consists of the terms women beer market
    (perhaps envisioning some new craft brewed  brand that targets a slice of the U.S. female consumer demographic). 


  • To hone those over 700,000 Summon search results down to something more manageable, in addition to changing, adding and subtracting search terminology - one good approach is to open up the left column “content type” refinement options. 


  • Categories (some showing, some not) that tend to be important to "include" for business research include content types such as market research, newsletter, trade publication article, etc.  Although not showing in the screen shot, a book/ebook category is also available.


  • Consider also including content types classified as "magazine" articles (at times this will yield data rich trade literature as well).


  • Consider applying “publication date” refinements to your search results as well.

static example of summon search result for keywords women beer market

Industry Financials (in print)


Almanac of business and industrial financial ratios

Provides financial ratios for companies in various asset ranges by SIC code. Data reported are based on aggregate numbers from IRS records. Call Number: HF5681.R25 A5. (Bird Library)


IRS corporate financial ratios

This comprehensive annual reference features 76 key financial ratios calculated from the latest income statement and balance sheet data available from Internal Revenue Service corporate tax returns. One page per NAICS industry (over 250 in all) shows ratios for profitable firms versus firms with losses in up to four asset size classes. Call Number: HF5681.B2 I7. (Bird Library)


RMA annual statement studies

Contains composite financial data on manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, service, and contracting lines of business. Arranged by SIC code, this work makes it possible to compare one company's performance relative to other companies in the same line of business. Call Number: HF5681.B2 R6. (Bird Library)

Additional Resources (in print)

Encyclopedia of Business Information Sources

This is a comprehensive listing of business related finding aids including abstracting and indexing services, almanacs and yearbooks, bibliographies, biographical sources, directories, encyclopedias and dictionaries, financial ratios, handbooks and manuals, online databases, periodicals and newsletters, price sources, research centers and institutes, statistical sources, trade associations and professional societies, and other related sources of information on each topic. Call Number: HF5351 .E52. (Bird Library)


Business Statistics of the United States

Call Number: HC101 .A13122.

Collection of data, primarily from U.S. Federal Government sources, addressing economic performance since 1929 with  regional, demographic and industrial detail for key indicators such as: gross domestic product,,personal income,spending. saving, employment, unemployment, capital stock, etc. (Bird Library)

Market Share Reporter

Presents market share data on over four thousand companies, and 2,500 products, facilities, and brands. Several entries are usually available under each industry. Call Number: HF5410 .M35. (Bird Library)


Encyclopedia of Global Industries

Encyclopedia of Global Industries chronicles the history, development and current status of 115 of the world's most lucrative and high-profile industries. The Encyclopedia provides comprehensive, international coverage organized by industry. Call Number: HD2324 .E53 2003. (Bird Library)