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Doing Industry Research

This guide is designed as a starting point for those looking for current information on industries. In addition, some historical sources are also included.

Introduction

Smoke stack of TVA chemical plant where elemental phosphorus is made, vicinity of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, 1942. FSA-OWI Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This guide is designed as a starting point for those looking to do research on industries. Since this guide is intended as only a starting point, every industry cannot be addressed individually but the sources and strategies included here should provide a good start. Those who might find the sources and strategies in this guide helpful would include:

  • Entrepreneurs who are opening their first business
  • Existing business owners looking to expand their markets or better understand them
  • Grant writers needing data to include in their proposal
  • Academics, students or professors, working on their assignments and projects

While this guide is intended for those looking for more current information, those doing historical research, however that is defined, may still find this guide useful. Databases do have content going back 10-20 years and many of the print titles do have long publication histories, so use those titles as a place to start. 

Also, it should be noted that while this guide focuses on the U.S., some of the same principles and sources can be used for a more global perspective.