Desk research – also known as secondary or supplementary research – is the practice of pulling together facts, information and opinion which has already been published, into a new report.
You can use desk research for an entire report – and it’s a particular good method for market or sector profiles. And you can also use it to lay the foundations for, and to turbo charge, your primary research project.
Here at Perspectus Global, we enjoy doing desk research. And here are our top three favourite things about it:
1) More marketing and insights teams are relying on desk research than ever before – partly because of the wealth of accessible information that is out there, and partly because it is more cost effective than running a big primary research project. If you know what you’re looking for, you can find good sources of information online, such as government policy papers, academic studies, trade organisations reports, and quality media coverage. And big libraries – such as the British Library – are also great places to go for desk research, allowing access to expert librarians, and the free browsing of data portals like Fame, Mintel and Mint. Beware of using unreliable sources – it’s worth getting expert advice about robust sources before embarking on the project if you’re new to this research method.
2) When we undertake a report for a brand or organisation using primary data – eg qualitative and quantitate research – using desk research to shape the themes, topics and questions for the primary research is essential. Even if you’re an expert in a particular sector, it’s incredibly important to spend time immersing yourself in the latest trends and topics so that your primary research is relevant and timely.
3) Including supplementary desk research to your primary research report will make it fly. You’re showing that your white paper is rooted in a deep understanding of the topics at play, that your primary research has been based on this thorough knowledge, and that you’re bringing in other expert opinion and data to make your report well rounded and robust.
If you’d like to chat to us about desk research, get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org