Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MBA 699 Strategic Plan Research Guide

Where to Look for Information?

  • PEST Analysis: Macro-level political, economic, social, and technological factors and trends are often analyzed by think tanks (e.g. Pew Research Center), consulting firms (e.g. Bain & Company), government agencies (e.g. U.S. Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis), intelligence and research firms (e.g. IHS Markit), and reported by reporters and journalists (e.g. Forbes, Fortune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal). The links to these sources are provided in a separate box below. A broad online search may work as well (with the keywords such as macro trends, demographic trends, consumer trends, technology trends), but pay attention to recent content and authoritative sources mentioned above. The First Research Industry profile also briefly mentioned industry drivers (Changes in the economic environment that may positively or negatively affect industry growth.)
  • Industry Description: In-depth industry analysis reports are often behind the paywall. Library provides access to First Research Industry Profile from Mergent Archive database and MarketLine Report from Business Source Complete. Industry associations and consulting agencies would also provide industry-level analysis that can be found via an online search. In Form 10-K (Item 1 "Business"; Item 7 MD&A), the company often discusses the competitive environment in the industry and how the company handles competition.
  • Direct Competitors: The company may identify some of its direct competitors in its Form 10-K (Item 1 "Business"; Item 7 MD&A), Mergent Online provides competitor information based on broad industry classifications. 
  • Porter’s 5 Forces Analysis: Information about the five forces analysis can be aggregated from the industry reports and PEST analysis. Industry Reports from MarketLine follows the Five Forces structure. 
  • Other Key External Environment Information: besides the key information for external analysis mentioned above, information about consumer trends, demands, and behaviors are available in some market research databases such as Mintel and RKMA Market Research Handbook.

Sources for PEST Analysis

Bain & Company Macro Trends and Industry Insights
Bain & company provides insights on how companies can prepare for the coming changes and thrive in the new global economy.

Deloitte Perspectives - Industry Outlook
Deloitte Industry Outlook provides key trends, challenges, and opportunities that may impact businesses and influence their strategy.

Morgan Stanley Market Trends
Morgan Stanley economists, analysts, strategists, and portfolio managers share insights on what may lie ahead.

Pew Research Center
Pew Research Center is a fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis, and other empirical social science research.

The research agenda and recommendations of Brookings's experts are rooted in open-minded inquiry and our 300+ scholars represent diverse points of view. Research topics cover foreign policy, economics, development, governance and metropolitan policy.

BEA U.S. Economy at a Glance
BEA produces some of the most closely watched economic statistics that influence the decisions of government officials, business people, and individuals. These statistics provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of the U.S. economy. 

First Research Report (Mergent Archive)

To find First Research Industry Profile, conduct Keyword searches at the public website of First Research Industry Profile, and retrieve the NAICS industry code of the report. Navigate Mergent Archive->D&B Manuals--> First Research, and copy/paste the NAICS code from the website. Scroll to the right and see the PDF document for downloading. The Industry Report follows the following structure:

  • Industry Overview
    • Competitive Landscape (competitive advantages)
    • Products, Operations & Technology
    • Sales & Marketing
    • Finance & Regulation
    • International Insights
  • Quarterly Industry Update
  • Industry Indicators
  • Industry Forecast
  • Industry Drivers
  • Critical Issues
  • Business Challenges
  • Business Trends
  • Industry Opportunities
  • Executive Insight
  • Call Prep Questions
  • Financial Information
    • Company Benchmark Trends (Quick ratio, working capital turnover etc.)
    • Company Benchmark Information (income statement, balance sheet, financial ratios)
  • Industry Website

MarketLine Industry Report (Business Source Complete)

Scroll down the search page->fill NAICS/Industry Code->  change Publication Type to Industry Profile-> Search. On the left column of the screen, select publisher -> MarketLine or Barnes. 

  • Barnes reports - number of establishments/firms, revenue.
  • MarketLine reports - five forces analysis.

If it is difficult to find the MarketLine Report via NAICS code (it can happen since NAICS code may be assigned differently by different databases), you can consult the excel file with the full list of the Business Source Complete industry report below.

Mintel Academic

To efficiently search Mintel, change all content types to Reports and change the view to List view. It shows all the reports we subscribe to and have access to. Then narrow the results by category, trend driver or demographics, or by search. Select and download the full report. Infographics or slides can be used for presentation

RKMA Market Research Handbook

Featured reports include the following and industry-specific topics for entertainment, media, advertising, healthcare, leisure, food, sports, travel and more.

West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400