Desk Research and
Secondary Data Collection
Learning OutcomesAfter reading this chapter, you will be able to:
• Discuss the applications of desk research in marketing. • Explain how secondary data can be used at each stage of the marketing
• Outline the steps in the desk research process. • Describe, in detail, the different sources of secondary data including
internal and external sources.
• Identify a range of secondary sources on the Internet and assess the
suitability of those sources.
• Evaluate secondary data for accuracy, reliability, relevance, and cost.
Desk research is conducted from the office, a computer, or a library using existing sources of information and can serve marketing managers' needs for information on their markets, environments, competitors and customers. It also has a particularly important function in marketing research where it is usually the first step in the process. Under certain circumstances and if done thoroughly, desk research will solve the research problem at hand without requiring the more expensive stage of primary data collection.
While primary or field research involves gathering data for the first time, using such instruments as questionnaires or focus groups, desk research uses secondary data gathered from existing internal or external sources. This chapter will first consider how marketers can make use of desk research. Since secondary data are the