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AREC 315 - Agribusiness Economics and Management

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Industry Search Strategies

1. Learn the industry's NAICS code (North American Industry Classification System code). Search with this code as a keyword or filter in business databases to locate reports, articles, data, and companies specific to that industry. Exploring the NAICS structure can also help with narrowing or broadening your industry focus.

2. Brainstorm different ways to describe that industry, thinking of both your focused industry (e.g., scheduled air passenger transportation) as well as the overall sector (e.g., transportation, air transportation) to which it belongs. Create a list of keywords and phrases to use as potential search terms.


3. When necessary, use Boolean operators to combine keywords, phrases, and NAICS codes to expand or narrow your search results in a database.

4. Consider the geographical focus of your research. Most industry reports are specific to a single country or region, so pay attention to these designations when gathering resources.

5. Pay attention to the publication date as you explore resources. When possible, filter your results to the last 2-3 years for the most recent data available. Many - but not all - industry reports have the publication year in the title, alongside the industry name and geography.

6. Gather information from a variety of sources. Search within multiple databases, find different kinds of source types (reports, news, snapshots, etc.), and evaluate information from several publishers, organizations, authors, editors, and/or analysts. Diversifying the information and data you gather is the best way to ensure your own research is unbiased, accurate, and inclusive. Check out recommended databases below.

7. Need more help with your search? Check out the tutorial below, or contact your librarian:

What are NAICS codes?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is used to describe and delineate U.S. industries by sector in order to gather, analyze and report industry statistics.

NAICS (pronounced "nakes") is used by federal agencies (Bureau of Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Securities and Exchange Commission, etc.) as well as publishers and analysts reporting on industries.

Industry codes are useful to know when researching a specific industry, market, or company and can be used in databases as a replacement for or in addition to keywords.

An industry can have more than one NAICS code. The longer the code, the more specific it is. For example:

72 — Accommodation and food services
722 — Food services and drinking places
7225 — Restaurants and other eating place
722513 — Fast-food restaurants

NAICS categories don't distinguish between small and large business, or between for-profit and non-profit.

While NAICS is recognized by US, Mexico, and Canada, it is not a global classification system. Other national and international systems exist, such as SIC (also US), SIC (UK - distinct from US SIC), NACE (EU), and ISIC (maintained by the UN and is the closest to a global international standard).

Databases for Industry Research

Great places to start

Advanced Tools