Desk Research - Methodology and Techniques

As depicted by name Desk Research is the research technique which is mainly acquired by sitting at a desk. Desk research is basically involved in collecting data from existing resources hence it is often considered a low cost technique as compared to field research, as the main cost is involved in executive’s time, telephone charges and directories. However, it could also be a complete waste of time and money if the researcher does not have the proper knowledge of how the research in performed.

Desk research is very effective and can be conducted in starting phase of market research as it is quite quick and cheap and most of the basic information could be easily fetched which can be used as benchmark in the research process.

There are basically two types of desk research techniques:

  1. Internal Desk Research - Internal desk research can be treated as the most reasonable starting point of research for any organization. Much Information could be generated internally within the organization as a course of normal process. Account related information which indicates what type of products are sold, in how much quantity and at what cost, sold to which type of customers including their geographical location and so on. The main advantage here in performing internal desk research is that it involves internal and existing organizational resources to organize the collected data in such a way that it is not only efficient but also usable. Internal desk research is comparatively very cheap and effective as internal recourses are deputed and the expenditure in getting data from outside is less.

  2. External Desk Research - External Desk Research involves research done outside the organizational boundaries and collecting relevant information. These outside resources are described below:

    1. Online Desk Research - There is incredible amount of data available online on internet. It’s important for organization to be information specific while fetching out this information as there are billions of pages available on internet. There could be two approaches for digging out the relevant information from internet, one is directly browsing the specific information from industrial, marketing or business sites and extracting the information out of these sites. Secondly, using the various search engines like www.google.com, www.yahoo.com, www.infoseek.go.com, www.altavista.com etc, for modulated searching. The important aspect here is to refine the searching techniques in such a way that results are promising and relevant. For this it is necessary that the researcher should know the importance of the research and follow the guideline intellectually to reduce the efforts made and time consumed in searching.
    2. Government published data - Government usually publishes a great extent of data online that can be used in the research process. This data is related to social, financial and economical aspects. The government websites are mostly free to access and contains most prominent information. Thus, this could be the cheapest medium of gathering the information.
    3. Customer desk research - One of the best and most prominent ways of extracting information for research is directly communicating with existing or prospect customer. Customers are the one who are considered the most informed as they are actually using products and services and are aware of the current market trends more than any other. Hence the feedback and information provided by customers is the most accurate and useful data which can be used most effectively in the further process of research.


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