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Syracuse University Libraries

SOM 122 - Perspectives of Business and Management (Fall 2019): PEST Analysis Research

Research Guide for the Whitman School of Management Introductory Business Course

PEST Analysis Research Overview

General Research Recommendations for the PEST (Political-Legal, Economic, Sociocultural, and Technological) Analysis:

Keep up with trends via a feed reader. Since PEST describes a framework of macro-environmental trends that have an impact on a business organization, we recommend that you increase your awareness of current events by setting up a feed reader for reputable news and business publications and websites. For feed reader tips, see the "Use a Feed Reader to Follow Trends" box at the end of this page.

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.

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.

Research Starting Points for the Entire PEST Framework

Below are research databases that are relevant for more than one PEST section.

Please also see the "Research Starting Points for Specific PEST Sections" box.

Industry databases:

Current Issues Reports database:

Article databases:

Business Article databases:

Multidisciplinary Article databases:

News databases:

Sample Industry Specific Article Search

See example below of searching by NAICS code 312120 (which is the industry code number for breweries) and the geographic term San Diego in the advanced search within the business article database Business Source Elite. Additional search fields, such as relevant keywords or a company name, can be added to narrow search results further.

The following screenshot shows an Advanced Search with three rows in the database Business Source Elite. NAICS code 312120 has been entered into the first row and IC NAICS Code or Description has been selected from the dropdown menu for that row. San Diego has been entered into the second row and GE Geographic Terms has been selected from the dropdown menu for that row. Nothing has been entered into the third row.

Screenshot of Advanced Search

Using keywords in the Advanced Search in a database such as Business Source Elite to discover articles about an industry in a certain area will reveal many more articles than a NAICS code search, such as the one outlined above.

Research Starting Points for Specific PEST Sections

Below are research databases that are recommended for specific PEST sections.

Before exploring these specific resources, make sure you have already explored the resources in the "Research Starting Points for the Entire PEST Framework" box on this page. The resources recommended in "Research Starting Points for the Entire PEST Framework" include information relevant to all PEST sections.

Political-Legal Trends

Economic Trends

Sociocultural Trends

Technological Trends

Use a Feed Reader to Follow Trends

An RSS feed reader will save you time as you strive to keep up with current events and publications.

RSS symbolRSS (Really Simple Syndication) allows you to "subscribe" to online content (such as websites, blogs, and news and business publications) via a feed reader.

Many different feed readers are available, including readers that are part of your browser or email client, as well as readers that may be used with any browser or mobile device.

Feed Reader Tips:

  • Set up feeds for an entire website, as well as distinct pages or sections. For instance, you can "subscribe" to the homepage of The New York Times as well as the business section.
  • Some research databases also allow you to "subscribe" to a specific set of search terms, so if you're doing research over a period of time, you can be "alerted" to new articles that fit your criteria.
  • If you hit a "paywall" (the website asks you to pay for the full text) when trying to read an article brought to you by your feed reader, look up the publication via the Journal Locator to read the article for free!

Full-Text Versions of Recommended Publications

Although you can look up and find just about any title you can think of via the Journal Locator, for your convenience, here are direct links to the Libraries' full-text versions of publications on the "Recommended Sites for Your Feed Reader" list.

This list may come in handy if you hit a "paywall" (the website asks you to pay for the full text) when trying to read an article brought to you by your feed reader.

Bonus Professor-Recommended Resources