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Types of market research: Secondary research or DESK research

There are two types of research activity: primary research (where you go out and discover stuff yourself); and secondary research (where you review what other people have done). Desk research is not about collecting data. Instead, your role as a user researcher carrying out desk research is to review previous research findings to gain a broad understanding of the field.

Secondary research tends to rely on published data and the quality of this can vary, depending which part of the world you are trying to obtain information from. In Europe, for example, the quality tends to be higher than in African and Asian markets where the information tends to be harder to collect.

Information can be sought from many different places and the cost of information varies depending on the sources. You might like to try:

·       Review existing research done by Government organisations

·       Specialised industry organisations or associations

·       Other private sources such as  banks, consultancy firms and specialised press

·       Search Google Scholar to find relevant research carried out by universities

·       International organisations' research reports, statistics and other publications (The International Monetary Fund (IMF), The World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation (WTO)

Please be aware of the following challenges:

·       Unavailable data

·       Out of date data

·       Reliability of the data

·       Different definitions

These challenges, if ignored, can damage the credibility of your market research, leaving you unable to act on the results.              

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Nataliia Hinde