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Industry Research

This guide will help you perform industry research at WKU.

What are NAICS and SIC Codes?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is the federal standard used to classify industries. It replaced the earlier SIC system, though SIC is still widely used.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes are four-digit numerical codes assigned by the U.S. government to business establishments to identify the primary business of the establishment.

Resources for Identifying Industry Name/Code

The first step in industry research is to identify the industry (or industries) of interest. Here are two methods:

  1. Find the NAICS and SIC codes for an industry using the information in the box above.
  2. If you have a company in mind, and simply want to research the industry for that company: look the company up in Mergent Online or NexisUni Company Dossier. The company profiles will include the industry codes.


  • Even though the codes are standardized, different resources will assign codes differently. Additionally, many companies can have multiple codes because of their various business segments. Be flexible and cautious when using codes to search, and always check multiple sources.
  • Sometimes there isn't a perfect or obvious code. If you have questions, please contact the business librarian.