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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 information resources for conducting an industry analysis using a variety of frameworks or models. They can be used, for example, to find details on the industry's competitive landscape (e.g.Porter's Five Forces), on external factors that affect, or may be expected to affect, the industry (e.g.PESTLE: political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental), etc.

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. (Updated every 5 years.) More detailed and Keyword Searchable NAICS Canada 2017 Version 2.0.

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) was replaced by NAICS but is still used in some databases and reference sources, especially in the U.S. Look for the code outline in the sources that use it, 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, aggregated industry-specific income statement and balance sheet data for small and medium-sized businesses showing the profitability of the industry (from Financial Performance Data), and  statistics on Canada's trade with over 200 countries from Trade Data Online. (Can be searched by industry to show top trading partners over many years.)

Statistics Canada.
The official source for most Canadian business statistics. Search the site by keyword or browse by subject. The website includes thousands of time series of socio-economic and industry data. Data tables can be manipulated. 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 of Population is the most well-known, but many surveys done regularly or intermittently (e.g. Survey of Household Spending, General Social Survey, etc.) provide useful information on socio-economic trends.

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", then industrial and macroeconomic scenarios for the analyses behind the projections.


Published Industry Profiles:

Analyst Reports:

Industry profiles by analysts 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" (may include SWOT analysis)

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

  1. Click on “Search by Subject or Topic" (top right)
  2. Select “Market & Industry Reports”
  3. Click on "Advanced Options"
  4. Select “Industry Reports & Analysis”
  5. Add a keyword or phrase (e.g. "grocery stores") and click on “Search”

Some large consulting firms also provide brief industry analysis reports and data free online, e.g. KPMG, PWC, Deloitte, McKinsey & Co. Insights, etc. (While these firms may have a high profile, the research provided free may not contain enough information about the origin of the data (source and date) to use with confidence. As with all information found, check the references cited, track the data to the source if possible, and evaluate carefully to determine if the information is of high quality and relevant for your analysis.

Government Reports:

Information by Industrial Category. Information available varies; includes some industry profiles.

Other industry profiles and reports may be found on government department websites related to your industry (e.g. Agriculture & Agrifood Canada for food industries). 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: Canadian federal government department websites have been transitioning from to since 2011/12. Searching may find additional sources, especially from federal agencies and other government bodies.)

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 you can find the relevant industry associations by searching 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” Use the Advanced Google search features to limit by date range, sort by date, etc.

Article/News Sources:

Articles published in business magazines, trade journals, and newspapers can provide important 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. (Selecting the Business databases as a group allows searching by NAICS:  (In ProQuest Central, click on "Change databases", then "View by Subject". Select your code from the list or enter 4-digit codes with an asterisk. E.g. 4511*) Or enter your industry as a subject term. (ABI Databases have an additional classification code search option.)

Business Source Premier:  Includes hundreds of business, trade and academic journals, and a variety of other sources. Searchable by NAICS as well as industry as subject.  (For a NAICS search, select your code from the list or enter 4-digit codes with an asterisk. E.g. 4511*)

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

Database Search Tips: Each of these databases contain thousands of business news sources, trade and academic journals, magazines, and other sources with current information about industries. Search for the industry  using words, not just NAICS (e.g. “pharmaceutical industry”). Sort by date to see the latest information first. View results limited by source type. Narrow down with additional keywords or subject terms for articles on specific aspects or factors needed (e.g. growth, trends, forecast, outlook, etc.) Use the database's thesaurus, where available, to find subject terms and alternate search terms; use quotation marks for a phrase; use Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT to combine keywords.  If you have trouble searching databases, please ask for assistance at the Research Help Desk, or contact the Commerce Librarian.

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 their 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.)


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).


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:

Statista.  A database accessible from the A-Z List of Databases. Compiles industry reports and statistics from around the world from publicly available sources such as trade organizations, governments, scientific publications, market researchers, etc. Statistics are provided in easy to download graphs and charts with source information.

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 the information found 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 assistance with citing and research please contact the Research Help Desk, or the Commerce Subject Librarian


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

Last updated: 11 Sept. 2018

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Anita Cannon
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