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What is Desk Research? Everything You Need to Know
June 19, 2024
Author : Charlie Harris

Are you all set to do your desk research? This blog will help you throughout the research process. First, let’s talk about some basics.

Research in the digital world takes many different forms and shapes. There are traditional techniques that gather firsthand information via focus groups, testing, proprietary data and interviews. Furthermore, then there are multiple ways to tap into the effort and time others have invested in in-depth research conducting desk research.

Moreover, desk research provides you a shortcut to explore insights by pulling data from other resources, which is imperative for understanding the customer’s entire journey. Likewise, desk based research takes less time and is more cost-effective compared to conducting primary market research. Most significantly, it can provide you with the consumer insights you require to make essential and informed business decisions.

Additionally, in this weblog, we will discuss all the major sections of desk research, such as brief definitions, advantages and disadvantages, different types, and so on. So, let’s continue!

What is desk research?

Desk research is also known as secondary research. Broadly speaking, there are two major types of research activity: primary research (where you can go outside and explore stuff yourself) and secondary research (where you can review what other people have done). Likewise, desk research is not about gathering data. Instead, your primary role as a user researcher carrying out desk research is to review prior in-depth research findings to gain a broad understanding of the field.

Why do desk research?

Before opting for a field visit, exploring a prototype, running a usability test, or starting working on any project that you want to be user centred on, it makes sense to see what other people have done in the past that correlated to the product’s domain. Although it is unlikely that anyone has carried out the exact same research activity you are planning, someone has almost certainly tried to answer related queries. Moreover, reviewing this research is the easiest and cheapest way to comprehend the domain.

Carrying out desk based research is an imperative first step for at least three primary reasons:

  1. If you do not know what has gone before, you will not be able to know when you have discovered something unique.
  2. You will sound credible when you get face-to-face with other stakeholders and users. If you have not done this “due diligence”, you will ask irrelevant and dumb questions and might find your participants cut your sessions short.
  3. Failing to do preparatory deeper research is disrespectful of your participation time. You might get less than an hour with a user of your system. Do you really want to waste half that time comprehending the domain problems that you could have covered elsewhere?

Types of secondary data sources

Here are the two major types of secondary data sources that you must know before beginning to work on your desk research.

1. Internal secondary data

Internal secondary data consists of potential data from within the researcher’s company. For example:

  1. Case studies
  2. Press releases
  3. Podcasts, blogs, and vlogs
  4. Company presentations and reports
  5. Company data sets and databases
  6. Social media and websites

2. External secondary data

Researchers gather external secondary data from outside their respective firms. For instance:

  1. Research papers
  2. Domain-specific publications and periodicals
  3. Print and digital publications
  4. Archives
  5. Industry conference and speech presentations
  6. Online research communities

Desk Research

How do you do Desk Research?

These are the vital steps that you must follow in order to conduct a desk based research.

1. Identify the Research Topic

Before you start researching, identify the topic you need to research on. Once done, make a significant list of the characteristics of the research and its objective.

2. Collect Existing Data

Once the sources of information collection have been narrowed down, check to see if prior research data that is closely related to the main research topic is available. They can be obtained from numerous sources, such as government websites, public libraries, newspapers, and non-governmental organisations, etc.

3. Combine and Compare

Once the desk research data is collected, compare and combine it so that the information is not duplicated and put it together in an accessible structure. Therefore, make sure to gather data from authentic sources so you do not get in the way of your research investigation.

4. Analyse Data

Analyse the data that is collected and specify if all the queries have been answered. If not, repeat the procedure to dig in-depth into practical ideas.

5. Identify research sources

Subsequently, describe the original sources of information that will provide you with the most relevant information applicable to the research.

What are the benefits of Desk Research?

Check the primary benefits that will provide you with dissertation research proposal help while doing your in-depth research work.

1. Better Domain Understanding

Before doing market research, starting any user-centred research project and running a usability test, you want to see what companies have done in the past (in related sectors if not the same domain). Furthermore, instead of learning everything from the start, you can review their research work, mistakes, and successes and learn from that.

2. Quicker Opportunity Spotting

How do you know if you have finally found something unique? By reviewing what has already been gone before. By doing this, you can see visible gaps in the data that match up with the issue you are trying to solve.

3. More Money Saved

Thanks to the Internet, most of the desk research data you need is at your fingertips, and they are more affordable to compile than field data. With a few (mental and search) filters, you can quickly find credible sources with factual data and information.

4. More Time Saved

You have less than 20 minutes with your research participant. Three minutes if you are doing an online survey. Likewise, do you really want to waste those particular minutes asking questions that have already been answered elsewhere? Lack of preparation can also hurt your credibility.

5. Better Context

Desk based research helps to provide a framework and concentration for primary research. By using desk research, organisations can also get the insight to make better and informed decisions about their employees and customers.

6. More Meaningful Data

More meaningful research data is the yin to that yang of field research. They are both needed for a meaningful analysis. That is why desk research serves as a beginning point for every kind of research study.

Let’s Conclude!

We hope this blog has provided you with all the information you need to clear your vision of doing research. Nevertheless, if you still feel you need a professional research paper writing service to get appropriate guidance, look no further than My Assignment Services. With a team of 2500+ academic mentors, we are here to guide you through every step of your research to enhance your academic integrity. We understand that every student wants high distinction grades in finals, but managing college and other extracurricular activities with a part-time job is quite a challenging task.

This becomes the major reason to miss classes. Well! You don’t need to worry now, we believe learning outcomes bring positive results in students’ life, so through our live sessions, you can clear your doubts on any topics regarding any subject matter. Furthermore, call us today to get more insights about our top services at reasonable rates.

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About the Author

Charlie Harris

“Best researcher” is the phrase his peers use for Lucas. From chemistry to law and management to economics, Lucas has the experience and expertise to become the “best researcher in the industry”. He is known for his blogs and articles of the highest level of quality and precision. With the help of his instinctive researching skills, he has made it simpler for students to work upon various research papers. He has joined My Assignment Services recently and now helps students in carrying out extensive research in diverse academic fields.


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