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I-CORE Research Guide

Operations Research

Finding Trade Journals

Trade publications exist to provide current information to people within an industry or profession. Use keywords to search for relevant articles (for example: "footwear manufacturing" AND operations). You can also search these databases using NAICS codes.

Find Trade Associations

Trade associations are made up of businesses and professionals within an industry. They exist to promote the industry and to support and educate industry professionals. Trade association websites can be a great source of data and information about an industry.

There are several ways to find trade associations.

To find trade associations search keywords that describe your company's or product's industry with the term "trade association" in Google.

Example: footwear AND "trade association".

Google Web Search


Try searching YouTube to learn about production processes. You can try searching different terms like "carpet manufacturing" or "screen printing". You can also try searching for videos on a competitor and "manufacturing process". Often you can find details on the machines used, processes, and materials.

Don't forget Industry Research & Market Research

Industry Research and b2b market research databases can be good resources for understanding the operations and supply chains within a particular industry and market. You can find these databases on the Target Market Analysis page of this guide.

Supplier & Material Sourcing

These are useful resources when you need to determine costs of parts and find suppliers, as well as finding competitive products especially if you are doing B2B marketing. This can help you find cost data as well as key suppliers. When cost data is not present, I suggest then going to the supplier's website and reaching out directly.

Needing to research technology?

You might also want to research patents. We have a number or resources and strategies available on the patent searching & intellectual propoerty page of the entrepreneurship guide.