James J. Hill Center Statement Regarding Current Closure

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Market Research Pitfalls

An attendee at a recent Database Deep Dive workshop asked a very important question about our resources. Are they biased? This is a question any business researcher ought to ask when pursuing new information. Nowhere is this more critical than when reading and evaluating industry data. Oftentimes companies will publish their own reports on the industry in which they operate. Always tread carefully. They may be motivated to have certain of the details reflect positively on their own company. This is problematic, though equally problematic is the fact that less biased information is not as widely available and not without an often prohibitively high cost involved.

Look no further than the business library at the James J. Hill Center. We offer visitors free access to databases like IBIS World and SimplyMap. These two resources in particular are of interest to those doing market research, a topic on which we will be presenting on July 11th. IBIS World provides reports on more than 700 industries worldwide. In business for nearly 40 years, its reports are written in-house by its own staff of independent analysts and updated annually. IBIS World is solely in the information industry, and with the myriad areas on which it addressed, its information is unbiased. It is also of a very high quality and quite valuable, used by hundreds of Hill visitors each year. Similarly, SimplyMap provides tens of thousands of variables relating to everything from demographics and consumer expenditures to sales and various market segments. Data comes from partners comprising some of the oldest names in market research like Nielsen and Simmons in addition to the United States Census. Users can be sure of the validity of this information.

These resources and others in our collection avoid the pitfalls, some of them recently outlined in a post by Inc. Magazine, of other less vetted products. Our business library staff at the James J. Hill Center is constantly testing our databases and soliciting feedback from visitors on their user experience. If you ever have a question, particularly about the validity of the information or data you encounter, let us know.

Written by Alex Ingham, Business Librarian, James J. Hill Center. 
If you have more questions about the reference library at the James J. Hill Center please contact 651-265-5500 or [email protected].


Patrons with accessibility needs please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit.