Sources Outside the Library

Sally Armstrong

Additional Industry and Market Research Sources

The industry and market research databases available through the library are not the only sources of information you should be familiar with. There are a wide variety of providers and producers of industry and market information so it is important to be thorough in your research and consider using additional sources.

The potential providers and producers of industry and market research information are numerous but some of the top groups to consider are:

  • Government and Intergovernmental Organizations
  • Consulting Firms
  • Trade and Industry Associations
  • News Media
  • Patent Aggregators

The remainder of this section will touch on each of these providers and producers by providing a few examples for you to consider exploring when you are conducting industry or market research.


When searching for information, consider who might be interested in providing or producing it. This can be a helpful technique when you are not sure where to start searching for the information you seek. For example, would a government department track the information you need or perhaps an industry association?

Government and Intergovernmental Organizations

Government and intergovernmental organizations can be valuable sources of information for industry and market research. You were already introduced to several sources in the chapter on Where to Find Data on Your Ideal Customer but there are a few more sources worth mentioning.

As a refresher, governments collect demographic and population data through a census. The information collected is used by communities, businesses, and governments to plan services and make informed decisions about employment, education, health care, market development, and more. The national statistics offices for Canada and the United States are Statistics Canada and the United States Census Bureau.

Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) refer to an entity created by treaty, involving two or more nations, to work in good faith, on issues of common interest. One of the most well-known IGOs is the United Nations which aims “to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.” The United Nations is part of the UN System which comprises of many funds, programmes, and specialized agencies, each of which have their own area of work, leadership, and budget. Each of these groups can be valuable sources of information for someone wanting to learn more about the global reach of a particular topic area. Below are just a few examples of the funds, programmes, and specialized agencies of the UN System. You can view a full list here.

  • The United Nations Environment Programme

    • The UNEP is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment.

  • The World Tourism Agency

    • The United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

  • The World Health Organization

    • The WHO is responsible for directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations system.

  • The International Maritime Organization

    • The IMO has created a comprehensive shipping regulatory framework, addressing safety and environmental concerns, legal matters, technical cooperation, security, and efficiency.

There are also IGOs that fall outside of the United Nations. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that works together with governments, policymakers and citizens, to establish evidence-based international standards and find solutions to a range of social, economic and environmental challenges. You can search through their data and publication sections to find relevant information. You can also access the OECD iLibrary through UNB Libraries.


When visiting the website of an IGO, or another industry or market group, make sure to look for headings like “Publications”, “Research”, “Resources”, or “Knowledge Centre”. These are typically the areas where you will find the most helpful information for your research and can help save you time from searching the website.

Consulting Firms

Consulting firms, or professional services networks, such as Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, and McKinsey & Company, offer audit, assurance, taxation, management consulting, corporate finance, and legal services to their clients. They are also great at producing and publishing reports and articles on topics related to major industries. Listed below you will find a list of consulting firms and the research they have produced based on the industries they cover.

Below is a screenshot of the industries covered by Deloitte.

Below is a screenshot of the industries covered by KPMG.

Below is a screenshot of the research topics covered by McKinsey & Company.

Lastly, below are the industries covered by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Trade and Industry Associations

Trade and industry associations are another excellent resource for conducting industry and market research. While associations are not always consistent in the kind of information they provide, they can often be helpful for a number of reasons:

  • Produce industry research and data on a regular basis

  • Share recent news related to the industry

  • Provide a list of their members (helpful for competitive intelligence)

  • Promote upcoming webinars, conferences, or trade shows

    • See who is attending or speaking at these events

    • Who are the thought leaders in the industry?

    • What topics are being covered?

  • Potential partnership opportunities for marketing, cross-promotion, or speaking to association members for primary research purposes (surveys, interviews, focus groups, etc.)

Unfortunately, there is no master list for all trade and industry associations in Canada. Luckily, there is Google! When you are looking for a trade or industry association, head to Google and type in the name of your industry, followed by association, and then a geographic region (try Canada or a province). You might be surprised by the results you get. See below for an example of the results received for a search in Google for grocery association Canada.

You can navigate to the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers where they have information on News, Member Resources, and Programs & Events.

One thing to keep in mind when accessing information from trade and industry associations is they can sometimes require a paid membership to access some of their resources. If this is the case, see if you can find a similar association with freely available content or speak to the Business Librarian for assistance on finding what you need.

News Media

There are a wide variety of news media sources either freely available online or that you can access through UNB Libraries. News media sources are a great way to stay on top of recent trends in a particular industry or market. They can also be a great source for competitive intelligence whether through company profiles or interviews with members of the company.

There are a wide variety of news media sources but this research guide has a short list to get you started.


If you find a news article referencing findings from a recent study or report published by a research group, try to find the original study or report for additional information. A quick Google search with the name of the study or report will often lead you to the original source and will typically provide much more detail than you would find in the news article.


What exactly is a patent? Well, a patent is issued to you, an inventor, by the government and it gives you the right to stop others from making, using, or selling your invention from the day the patent is granted to a maximum of 20 years after the day on which you filed your patent application.

Watch this video from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) to learn more about patents:

Conducting patent research can be valuable for a number of reasons, including:

  • Tracking the intellectual property of competitors

  • See what companies (or competitors) have in their pipeline

  • See who the leading inventors are within a field

  • See how others have tackled a particular design problem

  • Avoid duplication of existing patents

Google Patents is a great place to get started with your patent research. This database indexes patents and patent applications from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), European Patent Office (EPO), and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). These documents include the entire collection of granted patents and published patent applications from each database.

To learn more about patents and conducting patent research, check out this Patent Guide from the Engineering Librarian at UNB Libraries.

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Business Information Skills Certificate (BISC): Research Guide Copyright © 2023 by Sally Armstrong is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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