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Commerce Subject Guide: COMM 4311: Strategic Management

A guide to key databases, reference & web sources, and research & citation guides for Commerce.

Research Guide for Commerce 4311: Strategic Management

Sources for Industry Analysis Research

Industry analysis is the process of identifying factors that can affect an organization’s performance so that the best strategic management decisions can be made. The following are selected key sources of information for conducting an industry analysis. They can be used to find details on the industry's competitive landscape (e.g.Porter's Five Forces), as well as on external factors (e.g.PESTEL: political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal) that affect or may be expected to affect the industry.

Industry Classification Codes:

You can use these codes to search for industry information in article databases, government databases, and other business reference tools.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Canada 2017 Version 2.0.  Statistics Canada.
Designed to provide common definitions of the industrial structure of the three countries to facilitate collecting and analyzing data on industries. Keyword searchable NAICS Canada 2017 Version 1.0.

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) was replaced by NAICS but is still used in some databases and reference sources. (The code outline should be available in these sources, or see:


Canadian Industry Statistics

Canadian Industry Statistics (CIS). Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada.
Provides information on the number and size of “establishments” by industry (NAICS). Links to related information including Financial Performance Data and Trade Data Online.

Financial Performance Data.  Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada.
Aggregated industry-specific income statement and balance sheet data for small and medium-sized businesses, showing profitability of the industry.

Trade Data Online. Innovation, Science & Economic Development Canada.
Statistics on Canada’s trade with over 200 countries; can search by industry and show top trading partners over many years.

Statistics Canada.
The official source for most Canadian business statistics. Search the site by keyword, browse by subject, or search key resources, e.g. CANSIM, which contains thousands of time series of socio-economic data. Note: There are also many analytical publications available that expand on industry data. (Keyword Search Tips: Default is AND for multiple terms; use quotation marks for a phrase; Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT must be capitalized; truncate with *)

Canadian Demographic and Social Statistics:

Statistics Canada  is the official source for demographic and a variety of social statistics. The Census is the largest “survey”, but many others are done regularly or intermittently (e.g. Survey of Household Spending, General Social Survey, etc.).

Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS). Employment and Social Development Canada.
Shows the projected supply and demand for occupations in all industries in Canada. See “Industrial Summaries”, and “Browse Documentation" for information on projected labour market conditions.


Published Industry Profiles:

Analyst Reports:

Industry profiles by analyists are available in these databases accessible from the A-Z List of Databases:

ProQuest Central:  Select "Browse" tab to see report series. Searches can also be limited by Document Type: "Industry Report"

Business Source Premier:  Searches can be limited by Publication Type: "Industry Profile"

LexisNexis (includes a large component of business reference sources, including some industry reports):

  1. Click on “Source Directory -- Browse” at the top
  2. Select “Industries & Markets”
  3. Select “Industry Analyst Reports”
  4. Check off the relevant report(s) to search for your industry and  “Ok-Continue”
  5. Add a keyword (e.g. wine) and click on “Search”

Some large consulting firms also provide industry analysis reports and data online, e.g. KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, McKinsey & Co. Insights, etc.

Government Reports:

Information by Industrial Category. Formerly Industry Canada. Information available varies; includes some industry profiles.
(Other industry reports may be found on related government department websites, e.g. Agriculture & Agrifood Canada.) You can search across all federal government websites by using the search engine at the website, or use the site limiter in Google: e.g. "aquaculture industry"  (Note: Federal government websites have been transitioning information from to, over the past few years; searching may find additional sources.)

See also "Canadian Industry Statistics" above.

Industry Association Reports:

Most businesses have trade or professional associations to represent and promote their interests. Many of these provide statistics and reports about their industry on their websites, in trade journals, business news sources, submissions to government, etc. Article/news searches will alert you to some of these, or search the Associations Canada directory (A-Z List of Databases; check off Associations Canada only. Search by keyword, or select "Subject Search", and pick from the drop-down list.)

You can also limit a Google search for your industry to to limit the information found to Canadian sites (e.g. “aquaculture industry” 

Article/News Sources:

Articles published in business magazines, trade journals, and newspapers can provide insights into current issues affecting industries. Recommended business and news article databases (Access from A-Z List of Databases):

ProQuest(Central):  Includes ABI/INFORM Collection, CBCA (Canadian Business and Current Affairs), Newsstream databases, etc. These and other Canadian and international business and news databases can be searched together or separately. (The Business databases allow searching by NAICS or enter your industry as a subject. (ABI Databases have an additional classification code search option.)

Business Source Premier:  Includes hundreds of business, trade and academic journals, and some other sources. Searchable by NAICS as well as industry as subject.

LexisNexis Academic:  Includes many kinds of global business and news sources as well as several specialized business reference sources.

Each of these databases contain thousands of business news sources, trade journals, magazines, and other sources with current information about industries. Search for the industry (e.g. “pharmaceutical industry”).  Sort by date. Narrow down as needed, with additional keywords or subject terms for articles on specific aspects or factors needed (e.g. growth, trends, forecast, outlook, market share, etc.) Search tips:  Use the Thesaurus where available to find subject terms and alternative terms; use quotation marks for a phrase; use Boolean operators: and, or, not to combine keywords.  

Company Information:

The major companies operating within an industry are an important source of information about many aspects of the competitive environment and other factors affecting the industry. These databases can also be searched by "Company Name" fields, and include special Company Profile Reports. (Access from the A-Z List of Databases):

Business Source Premier
Select the “Company Profiles” tab at the top of the search screen and enter the company name to find MarketLine Company Profiles (each about 30 pages long, with SWOT analysis, revenue analysis, regulations, list of major competitors, etc.)

ProQuest Central (or Business databases subset: ABI Collection, CBCA, etc.):
Limit searches by company name to Document Type:  "Company Profile" to get Hoover's Co. Profiles and similar reports.

Expand the “Get Company Info” tab (lower right) and enter the company name. (Details available vary.)
To Compare companies within an industry:

  1. Expand the “Get Company Info” tab (lower right)
  2. Select the “Company Dossier” link (at the bottom)
  3. Select “Industry” tab
  4. Enter the industry name or SIC

Shows financial data and ratios (e.g. P/E, inventory turnover, etc.) for top companies (by sales) and links to recent news and other information about the industry. You can also create a more customized table by selecting “Upload a list”.


Company Annual Reports  - All publicly traded companies are required to publish an annual report on their operations. These include not only financial details, but also insights into the business conditions and operating environment of the industry. Some parts to look at: "Letter to Shareholders" (introduction by CEO) can include a summary of industry trends, and conditions or issues faced by the company, and “Management Discussion and Analysis” section can include hints of the company’s strategy for dealing with these and other operational issues. The most recent reports are available on company websites, or search SEDAR (for companies traded on Canadian stock exchanges), or EDGAR (for companies traded on U.S. stock exchanges), etc.

SEDAR A searchable database of public company filings (annual reports, etc.) to Securities Regulatory Agencies in Canada. You can limit a search to Industry Group, and type of document, e.g. “Management Discussion & Analysis”.

EDGAR For U.S. public companies, search for the equivalent Form 10-K.  The “Business Overview Section” requires a description of the nature of competition in the industry.


Global Sources:

globalEDGE Insights by Industry. Michigan State University.
Provides a brief introduction, background with trends, outlook, etc. on twenty industry sectors, with links to sources for further information.

Encyclopedia of Emerging Industries. HD 2324 .E528 2011 Ref. and Handbook of Industry Profiles. HD 2328 .H74 2009 Ref.
These reference books, despite not being the most current, can be useful for highlighting key success factors, issues, etc. to consider when you follow up with further research. (U.S. focus.)

Business Rankings Annual.  HG 4050 .B88 Ref. and Market Share Reporter. HF 5410 .M35 2015 (2 vols) Ref.
Annual compilations of reported market share and rankings data on companies, products, services and industries. Includes some international coverage. (Update by searching the sources cited under each entry.)

World Consumer Lifestyles Databook, 2013. Euromonitor International. HC 79 .C6 W67 Ref.
Shows statistics on consumer expenditures and habits for selected years since 1990, giving an indication of trends and changes over time in Canada and other countries.

IEA Policies & Measures Databases. International Energy Agency databases show thousands of government policies and measures taken or planned, in over 100 countries, for supporting the deployment of renewable energies, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency, and addressing climate change.

Major compilations of statistical data (industrial, demographic, social, economic, etc.) adjusted for comparability, are available online from: OECD, UN, World Bank, and other international organizations.

Other Guides:

“Marketing Hits”: Organizes Canadian sources by use for: Competitive Analysis, Corporate Analysis, and Consumer Analysis. (Caution: Some broken links; updating in progress.)

Commerce Subject Guide and Economics Subject Guide include more international business and trade related links.

Citing sources and Research Help:

Short citation guides, for APA style primarily, are listed on the Commerce Subject Guide Citations page.

For research help please contact the Commerce Subject Librarian


This guide is available on the Mount Allison University Commerce Subject Guide

Last updated: 13 Sept. 2017

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Anita Cannon
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