Get the intel on Mintel! (And other sources of market research information)

Have you used Mintel, our fantastic source of information for marketing research, yet? If not, or if it’s been a while, take a look at the brand new video tutorials  now available on the Mintel help pages. The videos cover the following areas:-

  • Category Overviews

Useful if you want to browse the most recent content by Sector, Theme or Demographic

  • Added Value Content

This is good if you want to find out about those ‘added extras’ which are available in Mintel, like Webinars, Analyst Insight and Quarterly Updates

  • Creating Email Alerts and Saved Searches

Shows you how to set up a profile so you can keep up to date with the latest content in your areas of interest

  • Creating Report Graphs

Who doesn’t love a graph? This video shows you how to create one from a table of figures

  • Finding What’s Available in Your Subscription

Shows you how to check which Mintel content is available to you (Swansea University subscribes to the following industry categories: e-commerce, food, leisure, technology and drink)

  • Running a Search

Does what it says on the tin! Tips for searching Mintel content

  • Structure of a Report

Highlights the key features of the Mintel reports so you know where to find the information you need

The videos are particularly useful if you’re using Mintel Oxygen, which is great for finding independent market research reports containing analysis, commentary and data. At Swansea University, we also have access to Mintel Market Sizes, where you’ll find data on industries and countries, including market size, market share and forecast data for thousands of consumer goods categories worldwide.

Although Mintel provides our specialist market research database, you may also find relevant reports on two of our other key databases, EBSCO Business Source Premier and ProQuest Business Collection. For help finding market research reports via these sources, check our guide on Blackboard under the heading ‘Can’t find the market research you need on Mintel?’.

All four databases are available off-campus as well as on-campus, so you’ll always have a wealth of marketing information available at your fingertips!

Country information: comparing web resources (so you don’t have to!)

If you need information, facts and figures on a specific country there are plenty of sources out on the web, some more reliable than others. We also have subscription resources which require a login but have reports not available for free on the web.

Taking the example of Sudan, we have compared what you get. Is it worth a few extra steps to access the subscription content? (Spoiler alert: YES! Read on and find out why…)

As a specific comparison figure, we have extracted the population figures from all resources where given. Interesting to see how widely this varies!

Resources from the open web

  • The American CIA World Factbook has long been considered a reliable source of country information – its entry on Sudan contains facts and analysis under headings Geography, People and Society, Government, Economy, Energy, Communications, Transportation, Military and Transnational Issues. Population 35,482,233 (July 2014 est.)
  • The World Health Organization has a country profile for Sudan which includes more health-focussed information and risks. It estimates the 2012 population at 37,195,000.
  • The World Bank also has a home page for Sudan which has a financial slant and links to their work with Sudan. They cite a 2012 population estimate at 37.20 million.
  • The major accountancy firm KPMG also have online reports including this one on Sudan. It has a lot of detail and dates from 2012. Population given as 34,206,710 (July 2012 est.).
  • Wikipedia: the profile of Sudan is extensive and can be a valuable starting point. However, you should not use Wikipedia as an academic source or reference – follow its footnotes to find more credible sources or verify the information elsewhere. Anyone can edit a Wikipedia page (try it yourself if you have knowledge of a particular topic!). Population is given as 30, 894, 000 citing the 2008 census and acknowledging that this has been disputed as a precise estimate.
  • The BBC has its own Sudan country profile with an overview, facts, media, leaders and a historical timeline. It is useful as it links to its own recent news stories on a country. Population is given at 45.7 million (UN estimate 2012) which seems very large in comparison with all other sources and may be unreliable in this instance – always worth checking more than one source!

Subscription Resources

In comparison with these, you can find extensive country profiles in our EBSCO Business Source Complete database. To find a country report in EBSCO, the following search is recommended:

  • Enter the country name as a search time and change “Select a field (optional)” to “TI Title”
  • Limit the search by date to most recent years
  • Limit the search by “Source Type” to “Country Reports”
  • Change the sort order of results to “Date Newest”

Screenshot of EBSCO BSC showing search filters applied


Is it worth the extra effort to search EBSCO? The Political Risk Yearbook report for Sudan is 39 pages long and dates from November 2013. As well as the usual facts and figures (population given for 2012: 37.20 million) it has sections on “Comment & Analysis”, 3 “Forecast Scenarios” based on political changes that could occur, 5 pages of detail on “climate for investment & trade”. So this is a much more extensive, current and researched resource than those available freely on the web – the reason why these reports are only available on subscription via the PRS Group.

Proquest Business Collection also has a series of Country reports, available only on subscription: find these by clicking on “Browse” then expand the “Country Reports” section:

Screenshot of Proquest showing Browse link to Country Reports


The individual collections listed here are all worth exploring for a specific country but some countries are not covered in all collections. In the case of Sudan:

  • Oxford Economics Country Economic Forecast has one from Oct 2013, 6 months ago. This is a 4 page economic forecast that looks ahead to 2016 with analysis and figures. (There is no Oxford Economics By Country Industry Forecast for Sudan – only selected countries are covered for this category).
  • The EIU reports do not include Sudan.
  • Oxford Analytica Daily Brief Service has many short items on Sudan indexed by industry and topic but these are not that current (2012 is the most recent) and are often not specifically on Sudan.
  • Oxford Analytica Country Profiles has one that is 2 months old (Jan 2014). It gives a population of 25,946,220 (July 2012).


EBSCO’s Country Reports are by far the most comprehensive option for authoritative country information with additional forecast information from Proquest also proving useful. It is worth noting that not all the subscription sources cover all countries – Mintel Global Market Navigator is another resource we have for country economic data but does not include Sudan.

The web resources listed are useful but basic – the CIA World Factbook is possibly the most reliable & recognized one to cite for an assignment.


Commodity Reports in Proquest Business Collection

Proquest Business Collection has a series of commodity reports, useful for forecasting prices, future consumption and supply of raw materials and foodstuffs. Find them via the “Browse” link:

Screenshot of Proquest showing Browse link and Commodity Reports link

If you find a useful report, here is an example of how to reference it using APA 6th:

Economist Intelligence Unit. (2013). World Commodity forecasts: food, feedstuffs and beverages, March 2013. Retrieved from Proquest Business Collection

  • The author is a corporate author as no individual was named on the report
  • The title includes the exact month of the report
  • The URL is the home page of the database NOT the URL for that specific report
  • The reference should be double-spaced with an indent to be strictly correct but WordPress’ blog editor wouldn’t oblige!

Need a reliable, up-to-date industry profile?

These can be found on EBSCO Business Source Complete.

Try a search on Forecasting AND “plumbing industry” OR “construction industry” as follows:  put “Forecasting” in one box and group “plumbing industry” OR “construction industry” in a separate box.  You could add multiple OR options if you wish. The quotes around the words will instruct to search for that exact phrase.

Screenshot showing "Forecasting" in one search box and the OR terms in a separate box

You can then use the following filters to narrow down results:

  • Date
  • Full Text available
  • Set “Source Type” to Industry Profiles

Screenshot of EBSCO filter options showing "Source Type"

If you still have too many results, add in a country e.g. “Great Britain”.

You can sort the results by “Date Newest” to find the most recent information.

MarketLine industry profiles are particularly detailed, reliable and highly reputable industry overviews.

Tip: to check you are using the best search terms, try using the “Thesaurus” e.g. if you search there for “Car industry” it will tell you the better term to use is “Automobile Industry”. You can then click on that term to expand it where you may find a better, more specific term to add to your search:

Screenshot showing "Automobile Industry - Forecasting" added to search using the thesaurus

If you can’t find what you need let us know ( and we will do our best to help!


Finding quality company profiles and reports

If you are searching for information on specific large companies our subscription resources include two valuable sources of company profiles. Most information on the web comes from company websites – which can be biased – these reports have been produced by professional analysts and can be relied on as authoritative summaries. Key report sources are MarketLine and Hoovers which charge for access to this company information via the open web. Click on the headings below to access the databases:

EBSCO Business Source Complete

Most reports are by MarketLine – they include sections on the history of the company, overview, SWOT analysis, revenue analysis, key personnel etc.

  • Ignore the “Company Information” link and click on “More” -> “Company Profiles”
  • Search by name and use “Match any words” to maximize results.

Screenshot from EBSCO showing "More" / "Company Profiles" option


Reports include a history of the company, overview, key personnel, SWOT analysis, key competitors, revenue analysis and more.

Proquest Business Collection

Click on “Browse” within the database

Proquest screenshot showing Browse

Hoovers Company Reports (the better option for UK companies) give access to a company record which includes an overview, history, key people, competitors, financials and more. Once you have located the company, you need to click on “Link to full text” (on the right) to see the full report:

Showing where to click full text link

(Proquest Annual Reports collection can be searched by company name, date or industry. It covers mostly US companies. More recent reports may be found on the web.)