Desk Research, or Secondary Research as it is often referred to, is the compilation and analysis of data and research that already exists, from internal or external sources. This can include information from existing reports, publications, industry surveys, Government studies, libraries and other published documentation.
The Web is a great resource for external sources of information, with many publications available. Some are free to access whilst others may have significant costs associated with them, particularly for up-to-date reports where considerable time and resource have been used to undertake a study.
Whilst the information identified by Desk Research cannot normally be customised to a new research brief, it can provide valuable general information on areas such as industry profiles, trends, and of course demographics.
Desk Research is a useful place to start most research projects, enabling you to understand what information or knowledge already exists on the subject you are interested in and allowing you to then build upon this knowledge with primary research. It should be noted that because the results are based upon others findings, unless they are from a reputable source such as from Government Statistics, you cannot guarantee the accuracy unless you back it up with your own primary research.