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Business Research - PEST Analysis

Suggested workflow for researching a PEST Analysis

Conducting research on the business and regulatory environment for a PEST analysis requires the consultation of a range of resources in order to build a comprehensive overview of the chosen industry.

This library guide provides an overview of available resources from a combination of online sources and specialist library databases grouped under PEST analysis headings.

Grouped below are a broad range of resources including library databases, government and corporate websites that provide industry, regulatory & economic information. Note that certain resources provide information on a range of areas for example the OECD not only provides global economic reporting but also documents the effects of regulation on industry and world economy. 

Further guidance is provided on the additional pages for specific types of information sources as well as a reference materials in the form of dictionary and encyclopedias to assist with defining  business and economics terms and terminology.

Extra support on the process of finding information is available via Study Smart where you will find modules on locating and evaluating information. All information you use in your PEST analysis needs to referenced according to CiteWrite with additional instruction on Study Smart.  The library provides a range of support channels including workshops on researching & referencing.

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Australian State & Federal Government websites are all active publishers of information and therefore relevant sources for information to incorporate in your PEST Analysis. Parliaments or legislatures, ministries or agencies are typically responsible for regulating activity related to business, between businesses and between the various government entities and businesses. 

  • Investigating the industry regulatory and policy requires locating government information by searching through governmental websites (see below).
  • Note that useful information can be in many forms: policy, regulation, government initiatives, government spending, committees and associated reports to name a few of the types of information required to develop a picture of the political context within which an industry operates.
  • More than one source may be required to build a detailed understanding of the sector.
See more guidance on the page, "Finding Government Information & Publications" in addition to the resources provided on this page.

  • Policy Commons [QUT Library Database] Document repository and search platform for international and local policy, research reports and other publications by policy experts, nonpartisan think tanks, IGOs and NGOs. This resource is an excellent source for gauging global policy and regulatory information. The most effective use of this resource involves three search facilities: see Topics for an alphabetical index of key terms and subjects, use the advanced search facility available.

  • Overton [QUT Library Database] A searchable index of policy documents, guidelines, think tank publications and working papers from 182 countries and over a thousand sources worldwide. This database is best used to gauge international policy directions, publications and research from a wide range of NGOs, IGOs and governments.

  • - Screen producers (SPA) is the peak industry and trade body supporting the interests of over 500 screen businesses both large and small in their production of screen media. Find producer and firm level statistics and data on the Australian screen sector by accessing annual reports, media releases and other materials.

  • Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development , Communication & Arts  

  • Analysis & Policy Observatory | APO -  APO aggregates policy, reports and publications from across the public sector. The information on this website might also highlight policy recommendations or social research. This resource is particular useful for supplemental policy commentary and research with many publications combining quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (focus groups / questionnaire) data. 

  • Productivity Commission - The Productivity Commission is the Australian Government's principal review and advisory body on microeconomic policy, regulation and a range of other social and environmental issues. The Productivity Commission is affiliated with the Treasury and provides the Government advice on microeconomic policy. For the purposes of a PEST analysis the Productivity Commission website will provide research, reports and research on the university sector that include the size of the workforce, industry structure and geographic composition. There is much material on the university sector available consider the market as a whole as well as employment within the sector - information will cover the following aspects: regulation, performance, competition, policy and consumers. The search facility on this website provide useful categories to filter results according to: regulation, policy, competition and many other areas of P.C activity. See also the P.C dashboard that tracks at high-level a range of public services and governance performance in each area. 
  • Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (Australian Government) -  DFAT is responsible for foreign policy and relations, trade and investment (via Austrade). The DFAT website provides an overview of  current foreign trade agreements. 

  • Australian Government -  Provides access to Australian Government publications and information. This will take the form of budget statements, committee documents and other parliamentary materials. Consider this as an ancillary source to more conventional types of business reports, the information obtained may only be useful if you have sufficient context around the process from which it is generated and may require additional consideration in light of other information you already have. Many disparate departments and government entities interact with each other for example audits of statutory bodies may provide a broader view of department activities.
  • Australian Public Affairs Fulltext (APAFT) (via Informit) QUT Library Database -   APAFT consists of aggregated content that consists primarily of editorials, opinion pieces, essays and other articles from Australian magazines and professional journals covering political, economic, legal, social and cultural affairs. Use the search tool provided in the database to retrieve information: be mindful of the date the information was published, consider the type of information returned from your searches, formulating keywords and combinations of keywords to use in the search tool will be vital to generating usable results.
  • - is the central source of Australian open government data. Anyone can access the anonymised public data published by federal, state and local government agencies. In addition to government data, you can also find publicly-funded research data and datasets from private institutions that are in the public interest. The site has over 30,000 publicly available datasets from a range of departments and agencies. 
  • Ministerial Websites - Though the information on ministerial websites will be largely announcements, media releases and records of appearances and interviews, ministerial websites can provide clues and cues as to policy direction and initiatives. The information on these sites would not form the most important information for your analysis - consider this variety of source as supplemental or incidental information. The primary communications of policy and stimulus measures are often via ministerial media releases. Queensland ministerial websites will also feature similar announcements.


  • Australian Bureau of Statistics - Australia’s national statistical agency. Look for thematic or topical surveys by searching the website. See this entry point for employment and education.  Labour statistics are available at occupation level via quarterly reports - search for these by name on the ABS site for more information on employment data reporting see here.
  • EIU Country Data + EIU Viewpoint (QUT Library Databases) - See, Business Environment, overview for countries and industries. Macro-economic forecasts indicators for Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and all other locales are available with rich description to provide context.
  • Trade Magazines - A trade publication is a regularly published collection of articles that address topics of interest to members of a particular profession. Articles often provide industry members with national and international summary statistics that are commonly drawn from other publicly available sources. three example of trade magazines include: Screen International, Variety, Inside Film (Australia).

  • UNESCO -  The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is the official and trusted source of internationally-comparable data on education, science, culture and communication. Reporting from UNESCO's website will largely focus on diversity and cultural heritage preservation within the cultural industries as part of broader initiatives such as the UNSDGs.
  • Reserve Bank of Australia - the RBA website has a range of pages which provide statistical summaries as snapshots. 
  • QLD Government Publications & Data - Go to the central source - both data and publications across a variety of sites will be available through this website.
  • Department of the Treasury (Australian Government) - The Treasury is the Australian Government ministerial department responsible for economic policy, fiscal policy, market regulation, and the Australian federal budget. The treasury website hosts information on and for business and industry alongside submissions from various industry and business stakeholders in the lead up to each budget.
  • CEDA - Formed in 1960 by one of Australia's foremost economists, Sir Douglas Copland, CEDA's purpose is harness the ideas and influence of leading thinkers from business, government, community and academia. Start with the pages providing research and policy - these will be most useful in defining current and future economic directions. Look for the CEDA series, "Economic & Political Outlook 2024".
  • IDEAS - Working papers (preprint or unpublished research papers) are often a more timely way to locate scholarship on current events. IDEAS provides a convenient way to search the RePec (Research Papers in Economics) archive via keywords, topics or terms to locate relevant information or data. Articles and papers in the RePec collection often go on to be published as peer-reviewed journals so be sure to check via the QUT Library search for subsequent published versions of any papers retrieved. See here for tips on retrieving research and papers via JEL subject categories.
  • World Resources Institute - WRI’s mission is to move human society to live in ways that protect Earth’s environment and its capacity to provide for the needs and aspirations of current and future generations. 
  • Our World in Data - is an online publication that focuses on large global problems such as poverty, disease, hunger, climate change, education, conflict, demography and inequality. A source of data often cited in other scholarly research useful for data, charts and commentary.
  • OECD iLibrary - OECD features eBooks, articles, working papers, reports, and statistics. Note this resource is a subscribed service and requires you to login with your QUT login credentials. 
  • OECD Data - provides many statistical series based on topic further data is supplied via the OECD and often within a disparate range of reports. 

  • OECD - facilitates discovery of publications and data by country and topic. Start early with this source as there may be some investment of time required to orient yourself to the available tools and publications on the website. Look for forecast report series that attempt to outline the future environment and shape of the industry. 
  • Worldbank Data - Web portlets featured on the site outline WB programmes and activities in regard to culture. Note: when investigating data published by WorldBank data indicators that relate to the university sector may be documented according to more generic terms such as 'cultural industries' or 'creative industries'. Drill down deeper into statistics featured in reports.

  • Business Council of Australia - An industry organisation representing Australia’s largest employers, advocating for policy on behalf of the business community and Australians employed by business enterprises. As an industry advocacy group BCA will also have input into workplace preparedness, in-demand labor market skills and the place of tertiary education.
  • ABI/INFORM collection (via ProQuest) QUT Library Database  - business, economics and information systems subject focus providing access to journal articles, working papers, business and industry news plus country and industry focused reports. Search for industry & market reports in this database (use the filter facets on the left hand side of the website). Global industry reports can be found under this series in the database.
Analyst reports - focused searches across the 'Big 4' professional services firms websites are an excellent way to gauge industry directions, regional capacity building and regulatory effects.

Be purposeful with your searching - use the available filters in the particular web search engine you use to conduct specific, focused searches. Consult the section titled 'Query Modifiers' on this site here. Incorporate a number of these search techniques either to specify the website from which the information is to be retrieved and what type of file format is typically associated with research reports (PDF,DOC,PPT)

For example, searching for reports by filetype (PDF/DOC/PPT) and by website URL ('', '', '', '') is an efficient way to mine a full website for available documents. Note that these professional services firms will also have regional offices so searching directly on the corresponding website for Australia or the Asia-Pacific region will render reports for local markets.
Deloitte Access Economics   KPMG Ernst &Young PWC
Deloitte reports cover a broad range of industries including cultural and creative industries. Far more information is available on the website than might be apparent via the Deloitte search box - be sure to use a web search engine to conduct a focused search on the website. KPMG supplies an extensive range of publicly available reports alongside a well developed search facility. Most reports provide a high level view of the business environment. A shorter selection of publicly available resources are available via the Australia EY portal, however, a broader range of reports on local business conditions make Ernst & Young a worthy source of information for your analysis. A targeted web search is far more effective that the search facility on this corporate website - see here. Focused web-based research targeting specific reputable sources, still requires the formulation of relevant terms including alternatives in the form of synonyms. PWC offers a whole range of publicly accessible reports.


  • Passport (QUT Library Database) - A market research database with reports and data on industries, economies and consumers internationally. Published by Euromonitor International. An excellent source of trend data for price, consumption and trade data for a variety of industries.
  • MarketLine (QUT Library Database) - Public company, industry and country information extending across over 200 countries and every major industry sector. PESTLE analyses are available under Analysis - Countries & Cities - Country Profiles.
  • IBISWorld (QUT Library Database)  - Key statistics and analysis on market characteristics, operating conditions, current and historical performance, a five-year forecast and major industry participants. Industry level reports are available for educational technologies as well as providers.
  • Factiva (QUT Library Database) - Australian and international newspapers and journals plus global company information. Extensive company information is provided, including financial data for more than 42,500 worldwide companies (from Reuters Investor) as well as access to historical market data and interactive charting. Tip: filter your search upon subject and publication - targeting national newspapers for more in depth commentary and analysis. More guidance available via the QUT Library.


  • HILDA (Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia) - While HILDA data is supplied predominately for recognised researchers summary reports of the data are available (see lower portion of page) as well as discussion papers drawing upon survey data. For the purposes of gauging current and future population forecasts ABS is another recognised source of such data alongside specific social attributes such as education.
  • Queensland Statisticians Office - Gauge local population and demographic trends. Interrogate the website for other indicators relevant to the business environment in QLD.
  • World Values Survey - Start at the linked page and follow the website cues for Australia. The linked data files are in Excel format, however, the accompanying documentation on methodology and the administered questionnaire will be vital to unpack the data.
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics - Australia’s national statistical agency.The ABS provide a wide array of social data. Look for thematic or topical surveys by searching the website.
  • Informit - QUT Library Database - Australian journals and magazines covering areas including business, engineering, science and health plus humanities and education as well as extensive coverage of Indigenous affairs. Take a look at TVNews for recordings of video news reportage as a way to look for policy announcements, government press conferences - To search just this collection: enter your search terms and then choose TVNews from the Products filter in the database this directs your search towards videos in the TVNews collection under this database.
  • McCrindle - Commercial social research with a business and markets research. Reports from McCrindle will typically pair approaches to developing marketing and communications by scanning the business environment in certain sectors. McCrindle often publishes content under other website domains other than its own domain. See also the McCrindle Insight blog.


  • Gartner - [QUT Library Database] A technology research and consulting firm offering analyst reports and research. Information is primarily aimed at C-Level executives (CIOs) and is provided in a variety of easily digestible publication types. Research focus is on both near and long term technology / digital strategy and maps current vendors / market environment for technology solutions within a given industry or sector. Gartner signature report series, Hype Cycles, visualise established, emerging and superseded technologies, however, Forecasts, Critical Capabilities & Market Analysis are key to understanding the relationship between the firm business model and technology adoption.

  • Rural Development Corporations - Primarily R&D focused joint initiatives between government and industry bodies.

  • CSIRO - A federally funded scientific research body focused on the development and commercialisation of new technologies. The organisation attempts to publicise much scientific activity to articulate benefits for producer, market and consumer. 

  • World Economic Forum - Start by searching for reports on education. The reports provided on the website will tend focus on broader issues or topics and so may be used to gauge industry directions and trends globally. Higher education as a sector will feature as a part of national-level education systems, however, building capacity and enabling technologies will signal broader trends across regions.
  • IBISWorld - QUT Library Database - Key statistics and analysis on market characteristics, operating conditions, current and historical performance, a five-year forecast and major industry participants. Take note of the sector drivers and disruptors within the reports themselves - these may appear as smaller sections of information, however, the factors identified in the report will prove invaluable for keywords or terms to use in follow-up searches particularly in conventional library sources: books and journal articles.
  • Economics Working Papers - Working Papers in economics are pre-publication versions of technical papers, academic articles, book chapters, or reviews. Authors may release working papers to share ideas or to receive feedback on their work.
  • Books - Start from a collection of quality curated materials available from the library. This form of information might be used as a type of reference material from issue focused editions to broader focused titles, another good reason to use the library search is to follow-up on topics in the form of keywords from reports and information you may have retrieved from prior searches.
  • Google Scholar -  Google indexes a considerable volume of scholarly material in a similar manner to the QUT Library search. Access to the material often requires following up with QUT Library Search to access the fulltext of the items you have found or alternatively connecting Scholar to the QUT LibraryUsing the large search infrastructure of Alphabet it is very easy to locate relevant academic information. The suitability of the results will depend on your search strategy so be sure to consider the key terms and phrases you are using.
Subjects: Business / General business
Tags: BSB108