Industry Research Project:

This document is provided to help you to research the industry that you select for your project.  Thank you to John Cocco, Colette Holmes, and Eric Peterson, for preparing this document (which Kenneth L. Simons has slightly edited).


The link below offers a very good process for doing an industry investigation:

It is a site maintained by Polson Enterprises P.O. Box 1381 Stillwater OK 74076


In addition the Cole Library (RPI Hartford) has a very good Industry Research Page.  Most of the items listed are also available at RPI Troy’s Folsom Library or can be accessed on line.


Folsom Library : There are many items accessible on line or directly through the Folsom Library at the Troy campus.  Some important industry related items are listed below.


Short list of key Industry Resources available at RPI’s  (Folsom) Library at Troy


For Industry Information --- Industry reports and other materials


§    Use Mergent Online rpi only.
Click on the “enter Mergent online button”. Click on Industry Reports.  Then see if the industry you selected is covered by this database. Reports will be listed alphabetically by industry, then by date (typically will go back 5 years) then by geography. 


§    Use Gale Business & Company Resource Center rpi only.
Click on “Industry” button. Enter SIC, NAICS or Industry description. List of industry reports will be provided, usually from  Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History.  Many tabs to look at, for example – “Associations”: Includes listings or links to industry trade group information.


§    Use Net Advantage Industry Surveys (Standard & Poor's) rpi only Allows access to the full text pdf or html versions of the S&P Industry Surveys. The Surveys cover 50 industries, are updated twice a year, and contain analysis, trend, and overview information.  Archive reports immediately available dating back to 1998.


Other industry support resources available through the Folsom Library


§    Use GLOBUS & NTDB (National Trade Data Bank)rpi only There are industry reports that can be located by using the site’s search engine.

§    Use Value Line Investment Survey rpi only Can be used to find some industry data, but is best used for looking at specific company financial results over a 5 to 10 year period.

§    Use Hoover's Online rpi only.   The free service available through the library can provide a brief industry overview and details about specific public and private companies.  More detailed industry reports are available for additional cost.


§    Company / Industry Web Sites -- When available, a company's or Industry’s web site is the most up-to-date source for information for that company or industry.


The following are materials which can help to evaluate industry shakeout activity and also look at how industries change over the years.


§    Thomas Register of American Manufacturers: ( )  Well-known directory of manufacturing companies. Free registration required for on-line access. This is a good tool for determining  which companies participate in a given industry producing a particular product. You can specifically look at manufacturers versus distributors.  Current edition available on line.  Historical issues dating back to 1906 available at the New York State Library -


§    Google an industry. (
Do a Google search for the industry of interest. Many possible search results will be delivered that can be investigated or refined.


§    Market Share Reporter : Market share of companies and products. Current and historical issues located in hard copy form at the library.


§    RMA Annual Statement Studies
Use for industry ratios. Search by SIC code. Current and historical issues available at the library.
Contains composite financial data on manufacturing, wholesaling, retailing, service, and contracting lines of business. Arranged by SIC code, this work makes it possible to compare one company's performance relative to other companies in the same line of business.


§    US Industry & Trade Outlook
Overviews and forecasts for many industries. Current and historical issues available in the library.


§    US Census Statistical Abstract: Earlier editions on the web 1878 to 2007     ( US Business Statistics Websites (  arranged  By Subject and  By Title .This is a collection of websites in the public domain.  Emphasis with this collection of sites was current, but there are some historical stat sites out there as well could be useful.    There’s also the possibility of looking at the Economic Census which includes manufacturing. ,


There are also historical indexes available at the library.  These can be used to observe how an industry has evolved over time.

Wilson Indexes are:  “Industrial arts index”, “Applied science & technology index” and the “Business periodicals index”.  These can be found in hardcopy form at the Folsom Library for certain years.


Intellectual Property Data


It is often helpful to examine how technology might have had an impact on an industry both in terms of the disruption it may have caused and also how existing firms may have reacted.  In many cases, there are industry specific articles and books that will directly provide a historical chronology which will include major innovations.  If this is not available for the topic you have chosen then you may have to dig a bit deeper.  Here is a list of some resources in this area.


IP related Internet Resources

Industrial Research and Development Information System (IRIS): Data from 1953-1998 Historical database with all industrial research and development (R&D) data published by National Science Foundation from 1953 through 1998. Statistics on variety of measures, including industry R&D funding and industry R&D personnel, broken out by source, industry, character of work, and company size. Data gathered from Survey of Industry Research and Development. (

Industrial Research and Development: Data from 1999 on
Statistics from the most recent Survey of Industry Research and Development. (

Patents worldwide (dates of coverage vary by country but this is the broadest available non-commercial service).

(if you have a subcription: LexisNexis Academic )
All US patents from 1971 to the present.
Special Directions: select "Legal Research" from Lexis' main menu; then select "Patents."

US Patent and Trademark Office
Full text of patents issued from 1976 to present. (Patents issued between 1790 and 1976 searchable by patent number and current US classifications only.) Federal trademark searches available.



rpi onlyindicates a database restricted to current Rensselaer faculty, students, and staff. Access to these resources is limited to Rensselaer IP addresses. If you are using a non-Rensselaer Internet Service Provider, you will be routed to the Libraries' proxy server where you will be prompted at log in for your last name and your Rensselaer RIN and Library PIN.

Before You Begin consider a brief consultation with our Librarian Colette Holmes, (Business Librarian), Office: Main Floor, Folsom Library, Voice Mail: 276-8331, E-Mail:, Available Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 3:00. Please call ahead for an office appointment.