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Business: A Guide to McFarlin Library Resources: Industry Research Strategy

Industry Research Strategy

Industry Research Strategy

This is a selected guide for research on Industry Information in the McFarlin Library Collection.

Search Strategies

Search Strategies


Industry research is important for strategic planning. Designing marketing plans, tracking company performance, assessing competitors, and evaluating capital investment all depend on good industry intelligence.

Also information is often not provided exactly as you may be seeking it. Many general resources provide background on a broad level which still contribute to a good business analysis. Once you've spent some time evaluating the industry, related research such as company assessment will be easier.


Industry analysis

Elements to analyze
Definition of the industry Structure of the industry Historical development Growth patterns
  • identify the industry classification code
  • identify the broader industry group


  • identify the major divisions of the industry


  • established or newly developed



  • rate of growth
  • seasonal or steady




Elements to analyze, cont.
Present trends Competition Customer characteristics Environmental factors
  • identify current patterns



  • identify the names and market share of the major companies in the industry


  • buying and selling patterns



  • economic climate
  • technological developments
  • social & demographics characteristics


Industry data is often reported in broad or aggregated form. Use it to provide background for your analysis. The following steps will help organize the research process:

  • define the industry
  • determine the SIC or NAICS code for the industry
  • develop an overview - use multi-industry publications
  • use guides to the literature to find relevant publications
  • identify trade associations for the industry
  • look for relevant statistical sources such as sales data and production figures
  • browse periodical and newspaper indexes to find articles on recent developments
  • search Internet sources

Finding Background Information

Finding Background Information

To find articles about a particular industry, search the following electronic indexes:

These databases require a Tulsa City-County Library card. This is free for TU students.

Industry statistics

Statistics such as average industry production levels, annual sales, and market size can contribute to your understanding of the industry.

The following sources are helpful in finding information on industry statistics:

Economic Indicators & Statistics

Economic Indicators & Statistics

Sources of economic statistics assess the overall direction of the economy. They are typically collections of data from a variety of originating agencies. They may also provide a useful historical pattern.

The following sources are helpful in finding information on economic data: