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Research Guide for COMM4311: Strategic Management: Home

Research Guide for Commerce 4311: Strategic Management

Sources for Industry Analysis Research

The following are selected key sources of information for creating an industry overview. They can be used to find details of the micro industry environment (operations, human resource issues, the competitive landscape, etc.), as well as of external factors: political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental, that affect or may be expected to affect the industry. The focus is on Canadian sources.

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 Systems (NAICS).  Statistics Canada.
Designed to provide common definitions of the industrial structure of the three countries to facilitate collecting and analyzing data on industries. 

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:

Published Industry Overviews:

Commercial Analyst Reports:

For the most part, when references to these are found by article database or Internet searches, the full reports will not be available. Lexis/Nexis (A-Z List of Databases) 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. Canada) and click on “Search”



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

You can search across all federal government websites: Use the site search in, or use the site limiter in Google:  "your keywords"  (and/or*

*NOTE:  Information from all federal government ( websites is being transferred to


Industry Associations:

Most large industry associations 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 at the Research Help Desk to choose the major association(s) for your industry and go to their websites. (To search the directory online select “CIRC” in the 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 limit a Google search for your industry to to limit the information found to Canadian sites. (e.g. “aquaculture industry” 

Article/News Sources:

Recommended business and news article databases (access from A-Z List of Databases):

ProQuest(All):  Includes ABI/INFORM Global, CBCA (Canadian Business and Current Affairs), Canadian Newsstand , etc.  Several business and Canadian news databases can be searched together.

ABI/INFORM GlobalIncludes hundreds of business and economics journals and other publications with global coverage. Special search feature: “limit by classification code” for broad categories of topics and types of information.  (In the Advanced search screen under “More Search Options” select : “Look up classification codes” to see the options available.)

Business Source Elite:  Includes hundreds of business journals and other publications. Indexes many reports not easily available.  Does include Marketline Company Profiles. (Select “Company Profile” tab at the top.) Can be searched together with other EBSCO databases, e.g. Environment Complete.

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

Each of these databases contain hundreds of business news sources, trade journals and magazines which have current information about industries.  Search for the industry (e.g. “pharmaceutical industry”).  Sort by date.  Read general articles, and narrow down, as needed, with keywords or subject terms for articles on specific aspects or factors needed for the overview (e.g. canada, growth, trends, forecast, outlook, etc.) Each of these databases can be searched by NAICS code.

NOTE:  Other databases specific to the subject-matter of the issue, or to the industry, may be worth searching as well.  (e.g. Environment Complete for articles on environmental factors; a Music database for articles on the music industry, etc.)  See A-Z List of Databases. Select list by Subject.

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.

Lexis/Nexis “Company Dossier” allows comparing companies in an industry:

  1. Expand the “Get Company Information” 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 “Create a company list”.


Company Annual Reports  - All publicly traded companies in Canada are required to publish an annual report of 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/conditions/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. Latest reports available on company websites, or search 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”.

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


Marketline Company Profiles in Business Source Elite – Access BSE from the A-Z List of Databases
Select the “Company Profiles” tab at the top of the search screen and enter the company name.  Profiles are about 30 pages long and include a SWOT analysis, revenue analysis, regulations, list of major competitors, etc.


Canadian Industry Statistics

Canadian Industry Statistics (CIS). Industry Canada.
Provides information on the number and size of “establishments” by industry (NAICS). Links to related information including:

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

Financial and Taxation Statistics for Enterprises. Statistics Canada.
Annual publication showing aggregate data of Canadian enterprises classified by 67 industry groups. The data include: assets, liabilities, equity, revenues and expenses, a reconciliation of net profit to taxable income and taxes payable, and several common financial performance ratios.

Trade Data Online. Industry 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.

Canadian Demographic and Social Statistics:

Statistics Canada  is the major source for demographic information. The Census is the largest “survey”, but many others are done regularly or intermittently.  Note: The National Household Survey includes details no longer in the latest (2011) Census:  on labour, education, income, etc.  Other surveys of interest for consumer research cover household spending, Internet use, etc.

Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS). Employment and Social Development Canada.
Shows the projected supply and demand for over 100 occupations in Canada. See “Industrial Summaries”, and under “Documentation: “Industrial Scenario” for analysis of trends and projections for industries covered by the outlook.

Global Sources:

globalEDGE Insights by Industry. Michigan State University.
Provides a brief introduction, background with trends, outlook, etc. on twenty industries, 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.

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. (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.

EIA/IRENA Policies & Measures Databases.
Four databases show thousands of policies and measures taken or planned for supporting the deployment of renewable energies, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving energy efficiency, from over 100 countries.

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

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: 28. Sept. 2015