Desk Research

Desk research is a quick and cost-effective method for gathering information and data from available sources, such as the internet, libraries, or databases. It is useful for mapping trends, analyzing competition, and preparing for further field research.


Desk Research, also known as secondary research, involves gathering and analyzing existing information from various sources, such as books, journals, websites, and reports. It's often the first step in research projects, providing background knowledge, context, and insights. Desk Research is valuable in market analysis, competitive intelligence, and academic studies, where understanding existing knowledge and trends can guide further research and decision-making. It's a cost-effective and efficient way to gather information without conducting primary research.

Suitable for

  • Revealing competition and their activities (is anyone doing the same thing as us?)
  • Preparing for further field research
  • Inexpensive and quick exploration of a difficult problem


Literature Review

A comprehensive summary of existing research and publications related to the product, industry, or target audience. This helps to identify trends, insights, and potential gaps that can be explored during the research process.

Competitive Analysis

A detailed analysis of direct and indirect competitors, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This helps to identify potential areas of improvement, differentiation, and inspiration for the project.

Trends and Best Practices

Identification and documentation of current trends in the industry, technology, or design, as well as established best practices for user experience, interaction design, or usability. This helps to ensure that the project is in line with modern expectations and approaches.

Benchmarking Report

A comparative analysis of existing products or services in the same or adjacent industry, ranking them based on specific criteria like usability, performance, design, and user satisfaction. The generated insights can be used to establish a benchmark for the project and identify areas for improvement.

User Personas

A set of fictional user profiles based on the secondary data gathered during the desk research, representing the target audience's demographics, psychographics, goals, and pain points. These personas help guide the design and development process, ensuring the product or service meets the users' needs and expectations.

Data Synthesis Report

A compilation of findings, insights, and patterns that have emerged from the desk research, presented in a clear and concise format. This report serves as an easily-shareable summary, helping to inform project stakeholders and drive decision-making.

Gap Analysis and Research Questions

Identification of gaps in existing research, data, or knowledge about the target audience, industry, or market, as well as a list of potential research questions or areas of exploration to be addressed in future primary research stages.



Define Objectives

Identify the primary goals and objectives of the desk research. Determine the specific information required, such as user demographics or product features, and how it contributes to the overall project.


Identify Sources

List relevant sources of information to gather data for the research, such as websites, academic journals, company reports, government databases, books, and expert interviews. Consider both primary and secondary sources and ensure the sources are reliable and up-to-date.


Create a Research Plan

Outline a structured approach to conduct desk research, including specific sources to investigate, keywords to search for, and a timeline for completing the research. This plan will serve as a guideline and keep the research process organized.


Conduct Research

Execute the research plan by collecting information from the identified sources, taking notes, and organizing data as it is gathered. Be systematic in the search and follow the plan to ensure all sources are adequately investigated.


Analyze and Synthesize Data

Review and analyze the gathered data to identify trends, patterns, and gaps in the information. Synthesize the findings by extracting key insights and drawing conclusions that address the research objectives.


Document Findings

Compile a comprehensive and clear report or presentation detailing the desk research results. Include an overview of the methodology, key findings, and recommendations, as well as any data visualizations if applicable.


Evaluate the Research

Determine the value and quality of the desk research by evaluating the relevance, accuracy, and completeness of the findings in relation to the research objectives. Identify any limitations or areas for further investigation.


Integrate Findings with Other Research

Combine the desk research results with other research, such as user interviews or usability tests, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the problem or topic. This will allow for more informed decision-making and the development of better user experiences.

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