Desk research: what is it and what is it for

Leonardo Saulle - January 13, 2021
desk research market research marketing ricerca di mercato

Desk research: what is it and what is it for

Desk research - PXR Italy

Desk research: what is it and what is it for? Desk research (or desk research) is the search, selection, and eventual reprocessing of information already collected by others.

What is desk research for? To understand a phenomenon or investigate a topic through the interpretation of existing data. This research method is possible thanks to the large amount of data stored on the net and in books.

In practice, it is a matter of starting by asking oneself a research question, which may be scientific or market research (but also of general culture); then one searches for databases containing information on the topic one wishes to investigate. After a substantial initial phase of data search and selection of the most reliable sources, the next step is to assemble the salient information. Sometimes, at the end of this process, it is necessary to carry out new analyses of the collected data, in order to answer the research question as precisely as possible. The last and very important step is the drafting of the research report which has to meet very high quality standards. The aim of the final report is to answer the initial research question as concisely and neatly as possible.


As you can imagine, the applications of desk research are as wide as the fields of scientific, economic and social research. However, desk research finds fertile ground in the field of market research, so much so that 21% of market research in 2019 was conducted with this methodology. Desk research, in the field of marketing, meets two fundamental needs:

  • describe market trends with extremely high levels of accuracy;
  • predicting and intercepting the needs, thoughts and behaviour of individuals or social groups.

Skills needed to conduct desk research

The researcher carrying out desk research always follows a process aimed at ensuring the validity of the results. In order to do so, he/she must have an in-depth knowledge of research tools, selection and data analysis through specific training.

The typical skills of the researcher are taught in universities through specific and indispensable courses, so it is always a good idea to make sure you entrust your desk research to specialised and experienced researchers.

I ricercatori di PXR Italy sono altamente competenti e specializzati

Why is desk research at PXR Italy special?

As mentioned above, traditional desk research is limited to understanding a phenomenon or deepening a topic through the interpretation of existing data. PXR Italy, following various research experiences, has devised a way of conducting desk research that integrates the collection of existing information with the analysis of pure data from the web according to the client's needs.

This method allows to give a qualitative or quantitative mould to the research, with the aim to output a report rich in insights and data useful for the following purposes:

  • understand consumers' emotions and feelings towards a brand or product;
  • outline market trends and consumer needs;
  • identify opportunities to increase sales and grow one's business;
  • keeping an eye on one's competitors;
  • reduce the risk factor in making investment and management decisions.


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