Entrepreneurship - 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.

Market 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. If you have any questions about using these databases feel free to contact Sally Armstrong, the Entrepreneurship Librarian, at sally.armtrong@unb.ca. 

Industry Reports

BCC Research

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

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.

Frost & Sullivan

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. 

Please note that students can access, view and print information, but the database does not offer PDF downloading capabilities.


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)

Euromonitor 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 Euromonitor homepage can be overwhelming. A good place to start is the 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.

Customers & Consumers


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

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 with in your local area, or nationally. 


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 Expert Tools section with two helpful options: Consumer Market Outlook and Digital Market Outlook. 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.



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. 

Reminder: If you have any questions feel free to contact Sally Armstrong, the Entrepreneurship Librarian, at sally.armtrong@unb.ca.

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.

Reminder: If you have any questions feel free to contact Sally Armstrong, the Entrepreneurship Librarian, at sally.armtrong@unb.ca.

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



Free Websites

Free Websites

A common misconception is that valuable market research data can only be found in a report hidden behind a paywall. In reality, there are plenty of excellent free sources available to you. 

Tip: UNB Libraries has created a guide for Data Services made available through the library. This should be the first resource you use when looking for Canadian, US or global data. Below are a few specific resources for you to consider, but the Data Services library guide will give you the most comprehensive coverage.

Canadian Data

When searching for Canadian statistics, one of the most frequently cited sources is Statistics Canada. Statistics Canada produces statistics to help Canadians better understand the underlying data that makes up their country.

  • They publish data on subjects like population and demographics, energy, agriculture, and education. You can browse the full list of subjects and the corresponding data here.
  • Statistics Canada has introduced infographics to help people, business owners, academics, and management at all levels, understand key information derived from their survey data. You can browse the published infographics here.
  • Economic and social indicators specific to New Brunswick can be found here.

Want to learn more about the future of work in Canada? The Canadian Occupational Projection System (COPS) releases projections of future trends in the numbers of job openings and job seekers for 292 occupational groupings at the national level, covering the entire workforce. 

Canadian Industry Statistics has data coverage for a variety of industries. It provides information on the number of businesses, financial performance, and labour productivity for each industry. 

Trade Data Online allows you to generate customized reports on Canada and U.S. trade in goods with over 200 countries.

Google Trends allows you to explore the popularity of a specific search term or topic.

United States Data

The United States Census Bureau will be your main source for demographic data related to the United States. 

  • The American FactFinder tool can be used to find data related to the American Housing Survey, the Survey of Business Owners, and the Population Estimates Program. You can browse the full list of what's available here.
  • All topics with data available can be found in this list. It is quite long so use ⌘F to search for your specific topic.
  • If you are looking for charts that have already been created, there are Infographics & Visualizations available for data going back to 2008.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the principal federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.

  • The Occupational Outlook Handbook can help you find career information on duties, education, and training, pay, and the outlook for hundreds of occupations.
  • Subject areas covered by BLS include employment, unemployment, inflation and prices, and productivity. A list of all available subject areas can be found here.

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.

Data USA is a comprehensive data tool developed by Deloitte, Datawheel, and Cesar Hidalgo providing visual representations to understand and visualize the critical issues facing the United States in areas like jobs, skills, and education across industry and geography.

Global Data

World Bank Open Data provides free and open access to global development data. You can browse the data by countries and economies or indicators. An example of an indicator could be education or poverty.

The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) provides health-related statistics for more than 1000 indicators for its 194 member states. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) publishes a range of time series data on IMF lending, exchange rates, and other economic and financial indicators. 

Citing Your 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

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