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Market Research Basics: Definitions of Source Types

These are common types of information sources for market research:

  • Industry Associations
    • every industry has an association who cares about collecting information and data about that industry.
  • Government Data
    • the U.S. government is the single largest collector of data about the U.S. economy and industries
    • Some agencies you will probably use data from:
      • U.S. Census Bureau
      • Bureau of Labor Statistics
      • Bureau of Economic Analysis
      • Small Business Administration
  • Newspapers and News/Opinion Magazines
    • tend to contain investigative journalism as well as commentary/editorials. They often explore current events or ongoing debates in society. Some showcase a variety of perspectives, while others tilt in an ideological direction. Others are intensely ideological or partisan, but they still fall into this general category.
    • reputable & specialist publications (like The Economist and The Wall Street Journal) will report on market conditions, policies and regulations affecting industries, and more.
    • Learn about Evaluating News Sources
  • Industry Reports
    • comprehensive accounts of a particular industry, containing a depth of information, facts and statistics (source).
    • emerging trends, financials, major companies, market share, and supply/demand chain are examples of information that can be found in industry reports.
  • Trade Publications
    • these keep professionals up to speed on a given industry’s trends, debates, news, professional development opportunities, and best practices. Under-utilized source type.
  • Scholarly or journal articles
    • articles about research written by scholars that are reviewed by other scholars before they're published in academic journals
    • You can learn about recent research in your field and develop a broader understanding of your product/service space (source).
    • Learn the best way to read a scholarly article: Anatomy of a Scholarly Article

Entrepreneurship & Business Librarian

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Nancy Lovas
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