1. Online search
Entering the appropriate search terms (keywords) into Google, Bing, Yahoo! or other search engines will very quickly reveal sources of information. The “Google Keyword Tool, helps advertisers fine tune their keywords for advertising purposes using Google’s AdWords, but it can also be used for market research. The tool analyzes a keyword by competitive keywords and indicates the number of monthly searches on keywords on both a local and global basis.
2. Government information
A wealth of information is available from federal, state and local government sources, most of which can be accessed online. The federal government alone is an enormously valuable source of information. The easiest way to access federal government information is through specialized search engines such as:
USA Search, the official U.S. search engine - http://search.usa.gov/
The U.S. Dept. of Commerce gateway to government information - http://www.fedworld.gov/index.html
U. S. government science information - http://www.science.gov/
3. Business organizations and associations
Various business organizations make valuable market research information available online. Local Chambers of Commerce and state and city Visitors and Convention Bureaus are useful sources, as are trade and professional organizations and associations.
4. Publications, websites and other online information
Increasingly, newspapers, magazines and journals have migrated their information online, and in many cases you can sign up without charge to access articles. Get information about competitors competitors from their websites and Facebook pages. Pay particular attention to the information a competitor provides to investors. Also look in the newsroom or media section of their websites to gain awareness of new product announcements and product enhancements.
Libraries continue to be an excellent source for two reasons. First, they provide access to research sources in the form of directories and book collections that might be otherwise prohibitively expensive. Second, they can provide additional sources of online information that might not be commonly available, such as paid subscriptions to scholarly journals or information services.