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Industry Research: Home

Business guide to industry research

USC Industry Information Databases

Financial Databases at USC

This is a list of the key business databases at USC.  Another list with the WRDS datasets broken out can be found here.

Conferences and Conventions

These public sites can help find professional conferences and conventions for a wide range of industries:

Local Industry (1930)

Photograph of multiple factory workers completing a final inspection on tires, ca.1930 (Los Angeles). From the USC Digital Library.

Industry Research Tips

To understand a company an its competitors, you need to understand the industry of which it is a part, even if you are looking for information about a niche industry. 

Finding information about an industry includes the following steps:

  • Get an overview of the industry (market research, industry summaries)
  • Look for articles on trends and see if you can find forecasts
  • Gather statistics from government agencies and trade associations
  • Contact trade associations for additional information about an industry

Potential problems:

  • Each information tool uses its own industry groupings and covers different industries.  Data from one source may not match another resource, both in terms of data and definition of an industry. 
  • Small industries are often reported as part of larger industries in government data and other information sources.  Look for targeted market research to address these markets
  • Quality, availability and cost of association information varies widely.  Some of it is only available to members, and some data can be free.
  • Emerging industries can be difficult to research.  Data may not be available and trends may not have been established. 

USC Articles Databases

Financial Norms & Ratios

The following databases have financial norms and ratios by industry.  Links to the databases can be found under USC Industry Information or Financial Information Databases in the left hand column

  • eStatement Studies: Search by NAICS code or keyword search the name of an industry
  • Factiva:  Search 'Companies/Markets' for a Company profile which will contain a "Ratio Comparison" report
  • Orbis:  Search different ratio variables by industry
  • ValueLine:  Industry snapshots contain select ratios, click on 'Standard Edition" then 'Industry Look-Up'
  • Hoovers:  Contains comparative ratios for companies that are benchmarked against their primary industry as a whole
  • Capital IQ (this is only accessible on a dedicated computer in Crocker Library):  Search 'Markets' and select a broad industry descriptor; on the industry's profile page, look for 'Key Stats & Ratios'

See Crocker Library Industry Reference below for Reference materials

Crocker Library Industry Reference Books

Many resources use the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes that were developed to track data on American Industries.  The codes were updated by a new systems called NAICS:  the North American Industry Classification System, which includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  However, many resources still use SIC codes as well. Pubic websites for SIC and/or NAICS codes are listed in the box below

Public Links

Head, Crocker Business Library and Accounting Library

Helga Haraldsson
Contact:
Hoffman Hall HOH 201D
701 Expolsition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90089
213 740-0050

Government Industry Information including NAICS & SIC Codes

Find an Association - BCRC

Professional associations can be very helpful in learning more about an industry or profession.  Although full access is often reserved for paid members, associations often provide information to the public in the form of summary reports press releases.  Examples of professional associations include Advertising Professionals of Los Angeles, the American Society of Cinematographers, the American Medical Association and the California Solar Energy Industries Association to name just a few.

Follow the steps below to locate a professional association. 

 1.  Go to the Business Insights Essentials database

2.  Select the "Advanced Search" option

3.  Under 'Keyword", search the various "Associations" options

4.  Try searching for a word that is found in the industry description or in the name of the association.  Also, you may wish to specify "USA" in "Country" field or you will be searching for international associations as well.  Try different combinations of search terms and keywords to find the association you need. 

Gale Directory Library

To locate professional associations and other types of organizations, you can also search the Gale Directory Library available through the USC Libraries E-Resources.  This database contains the Encyclopedias of Associations (under "Organizations") as well as other reference works.