Skip to main content

Market Research Guide

Getting Started

Getting Started with Market Research

Market research is absolutely necessary for the success of any new business. Speaking to customers, understanding your market, and keeping on top of emerging trends are just some of the tasks related to market research.

Market research is comprised of two components: primary and secondary research. 

Primary market research involves you directly interacting with potential customers. Gathering information from customers is essential in determining the problems they face, how your product or service could solve their problem, and whether or not they would be willing to pay for it. 

Secondary market research is a compilation of existing data that has been collected and analyzed. This information is communicated in a variety of formats including a newspaper article, an academic journal article, or an industry report. Staying up to date on this information will keep you informed of new trends in the market, disruptive technologies, and help you stay aware of what your competitors are working on.

Market research can help you find answers to just some of the following questions:

  • What is the size of my market?
  • Who are my competitors?
  • Which market is best suited for my product or service?
  • How much will customers pay for my product or service?
  • What are the emerging trends in an industry?

If you're interested in more information, The University of British Columbia has created a helpful 5-minute video providing an Introduction to Market Research.


Secondary Research

Finding Market Research Reports

A market research database can provide you with some really great information to help you build out your business idea. They can help you find information on:

  • Market size
  • Market opportunity
  • Competitors
  • Revenue forecast
  • Emerging technology trends

Below are a few market research databases to get you started.  

Industry Reports

BCC Research

A video tutorial demonstrating how to login to BCC Research. A video transcript is here.

A video tutorial providing a brief introduction to BCC Research. A video transcript is here.

BCC Research produces comprehensive market research reports to assist with market sizing, forecasting and industry intelligence. They cover topic areas such as biotech, engineering, pharmaceuticals, information technology, energy and resources, nanotechnology and photonics.

Forrester Research

A video tutorial providing a brief introduction to Forrester Research. A video transcript is here.

Forrester Research is a leader of emerging-technology analysis. It provides objective research on technology change and the impact emerging technology can have on business. Forrester Research delivers real-world insights from analysts who are in constant contact with business directors, IT experts, marketing specialists, and senior executives across various industries.

Note: UNB-only login. Forrester requires that you create an account using a current UNB email address. 

Frost & Sullivan

A video tutorial providing a brief introduction to Frost & Sullivan. A video transcript is here.

Frost & Sullivan provides industry reports looking at disruptive and emerging technologies covering North American and global markets. A report title example would be Global Virtual Reality Ecosystem or Global Blockchain Applications. 

Reports can include information on key market trends, major market competitors and promising startups, revenue forecasts, etc. 


A video tutorial providing a brief introduction to IBISWorld. A video transcript is here.

IBISWorld provides industry reports for Canada, the US, along with some global coverage. This database primarily covers established industries, not emerging technology. A report title example would be Solar Panel Manufacturing in the US or Breweries in Canada. 

IBISWorld can be really helpful if you have developed a product or service which will disrupt an existing industry. To successfully disrupt that industry you need to first understand how that industry is currently performing, major companies operating in the industry, and the overall outlook for the industry. 

Passport GMID (Euromonitor)

A video tutorial providing a brief introduction to Passport GMID. A video transcript is here.

Passport GMID provides industry, country, and business dynamic reports for Canada, the US, and other international countries. A report title example would be Consumer Electronics in Canada or Colour Cosmetics in China. 

Reports can include information on market size, company shares, brand shares, pricing, etc. They also have interactive dashboards that allow you to understand high-level trends on a global scale.

The Passport GMID homepage can be overwhelming. A good place to start is the Search by keyword box at the top of the page. By typing in a keyword, such as beverages Canada, a list of Statistics and Analysis will be generated. 

You can also use the more detailed Search option (found in the toolbar at the top of the page).

From there, you can Search Full Tree by clicking 'Go'. This search function allows you to explore all the industries covered by Euromonitor, and use the Geographies section to specify the countries you are interested in learning more about.

For example, under Industries, you can see the top-level categories covered by Passport GMID. You can drill down in each category by clicking the '+' next to the category to see the sub-categories. You can select the entire category or an individual sub-category to add it to your search.

Once you have added your categories and/or sub-categories, back at the top of the page you can select Geographies to add individual countries to your search.

Customers & Consumers

D&B Hoovers

A video tutorial showing how to build a company list in D&B Hoovers. A video transcript is here.

A video tutorial showing how to build a contact list in D&B Hoovers. A video transcript is here.

D&B Hoovers provides company information through a global database of over 120 million company records and business analytics (including financials, contacts, news, reports, triggers, and industry information). It's a great place to begin when researching an unfamiliar company. Alongside company information D&B Hoovers can help to build a list of companies to match a customized set of criteria.


A video tutorial providing a brief introduction to eMarketer. A video transcript is here.

eMarketer is the go-to authority on digital marketing, mobile, social media, and e-commerce, offering insights essential to navigating the changing, competitive and complex digital environment.  By weighing and analyzing information from different sources, eMarketer provides information to evaluate emerging trends, validate decisions, develop new ways to reach consumers, and stay ahead of the competition.

Mergent Intellect

A video tutorial providing an introduction to using Mergent Intellect.

Mergent Intellect holds information on over 100 million public and private North American/global companies. Alongside company research, the enhanced features of the Intellect interface offer users the opportunity to look up executives, build contact/mailing lists and perform market research queries. 

Mergent Intellect provides numerous research options allowing you to filter results by location, industry, size of the company, and financial information. This can be useful if you are trying to identify potential customers, suppliers or partners to work within your local area, or nationally. 


A video tutorial providing a brief introduction to Statista. A video transcript is here.

Statista is a statistics portal that provides business, marketing, demographic, and economic data on 80,000+ topics from over 18,000 sources. It covers a wide variety of topics and can be a great place to start with your research. 

You can easily enter a keyword into the search field and Statista will suggest keywords for you to search. A quick search will provide you with individual charts or lengthy dossiers compiled on a specific topic. 

Statista's toolbar has an Outooks section with helpful coverage such as the Consumer Market Outlook and Digital Market Outlook tools. Each tool allows you to drill down into a specific market.

For example, in the Digital Market tool, you can select eCommerce. Then using the Market and Region filters at the top you can narrow the market down to eCommerce Apparel in Canada.



A video tutorial showing how to search for competitors in PitchBook. A video transcript is here.

First and foremost, PitchBook is a private equity and venture capital database. It is also a powerful tool to use for competitor research. It can help identify companies that are providing products or services similar to the business idea you are proposing. 

Note: UNB-only login. PitchBook requires that you create an account using a current UNB email address. 


Primary Research

Primary Research

Primary market research involves you directly interacting with potential customers. Gathering information from customers is essential in determining the problems they face, how your product or service could solve their problem, and whether or not they would be willing to pay for it. 

You can gather these insights from customers by using a variety of methods. Some of them include:

  • Surveys
  • Focus groups
  • Customer interviews
  • Observation

Keep in mind that primary market research can be time-consuming, expensive, and analysis of your results can be complicated. However, the results will be extremely valuable and contribute to the success of your business.

Below are some resources to help you get started with your primary market research.


Focus groups

Customer interviews



Journal Articles

Finding Journal Articles

Journal articles are great for learning about up and coming research in a given field. They can help provide a broader context for your product or service area. For example, perhaps a journal article could discuss a health application you had not previously considered for your medical device.

You may be working on an idea that is cross-disciplinary, meaning that your idea could encompass more than one subject area. Make sure to think about what group would be producing research relevant to your idea. For example, perhaps you're developing a mobile app game that can be used in early education. Not only would you use the databases listed below to find journal articles about mobile apps, but you would also want to consider using the Education research guide to find research related to learning habits of young children.

Listed below are just a handful of journal article databases that you can consider using. All of UNB Libraries Research Guides are listed here.


ABI/INFORM Complete provides indexing, abstracts, and full-text of scholarly and trade journal articles in business, management, and trade. Also covers dissertations, SSRN working papers, market reports, industry reports, business cases, local and regional business information, and global and trade news. Includes full text of The Wall Street Journal and digital images of selected key business journals from the first issue to the present. Here is the ABI help guide.

Tip: From the ABI/INFORM homepage select Browse (it’s a tab listed across the main heading of the homepage). In the list of content, select Business Monitor International (BMI) Industry Reports. This gives you access to industry reports on topics like banking, energy, healthcare, and retail.

Business Source Ultimate

Business Source Ultimate provides full text for more than 7,200 scholarly business journals and other sources. Coverage includes virtually all subject areas related to business.

Tip: Not finding what you need with your search terms? Often journal article databases have a thesaurus that can help you find search terms that are friendly to their database. Try out the thesaurus on Business Source Ultimate's homepage (it's a tab listed across the main heading).


Scopus, a multidisciplinary online resource, will be invaluable to students and faculty in various fields of study within the sciences, health sciences and the social sciences. Scopus offers full-text linking, abstracting-and-indexing information and provides access to over 66 million abstracts dating back to 1966.  

Science Direct

Science Direct offers comprehensive coverage of literature across all fields of science, medicine, and technology. It provides access to 1,300 titles with over 1,200,000 articles.

Questions? Contact Sally Armstrong, the Entrepreneurship Librarian, at or book a virtual meeting with me here

Market Sizing

Determining a Market Size

Entrepreneurs are often required to determine a market size to demonstrate how large and attractive the potential market is for their product or service. Instructors and investors want to see a demand for your product or service, and that the demand will hopefully increase over time. 

There are cases where you can find an appropriate market size in an industry or market research report. Databases such as BCC Research, Frost & Sullivan, IBISWorld, and Euromonitor, found in this guide on the Market Research tab, can sometimes offer a relevant market size but it may not reflect the exact criteria you require such as geography or time period. This can require you to calculate your own market size. Below is collection of introductory resources to defining market size and learning the methodologies to calculate one.

Market Sizing Resources

MaRS Discovery District has a free online course called Introduction to Market Sizing. This 30-minute online course is a practical introduction to market sizing and the fundamentals of market research. Learn the market sizing methods that are often used when describing, analyzing and communicating the size of a market. Note: Students have reported difficulty registering for this course while on-campus. If you encounter this problem, try registering while using your internet connection at home. 

The article "Sizing Up: Market Sizing for Your Business" from Towards Data Science provides a concise overview of how to figure out your market size. 

The article "Best Way to Do a Market Analysis?" from Inc. compares the top-down and bottom-up approaches used to determine market size. 

This Market Sizing presentation from Professor Giovanni Valencia at the Rutgers Busines School provides an overview of sizing a market and two case study examples. 

Citing Sources

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources. Instructors, pitch competition judges, and investors want to see where you sourced your information.

The standard citation style for Business is American Psychological Association (APA) style, but your instructor may require or recommend that you use another.  Always check your course syllabus or ask your instructor to be sure you are using the correct citation style.

Zotero is a software program that collects, manages, and cites research sources. It's easy to use, works with your web browser where you do your work, and best of all it's free.

  • Zotero

More Information More Information

Subject Specialties:
Business & Finance, Competitive Intelligence, Corporate Law, Intellectual Property, Leadership Studies

Subject Specialties:
Business; English; Economics; Philosophy