Desk & Literature Review
Some research questions can be answered without collecting data using qualitative or quantitative research methods. We instead utilize existing information and data that has already been collected by others (i.e., secondary data). A literature review & desktop-based research of previous projects and other initiatives that can inform and support the need for a project, as well as provide a foundation for the work to be undertaken.
Desk research may also be referred to as a literature review, but it is not really quite the same. Literature research is focused on acquiring theoretical knowledge about a concept or topic, whereas desk research is used to gather facts and existing research data that help to answer your research question.
Our review identifies what similar work has been done, what works, and what doesn’t, so that you do not have to re-invent the wheel. The review ideally has recommendations to inform the need for a project and the project design.
It’s vital to carry out desk research in a structured manner because a lot of information is available and has to be analysed. We ideally follow the following steps when conducting desk research and literature review.
- We select keywords/search terms. We focus on terms from your scope of work and theoretical framework (if applicable).
- We search for several relevant sources that may contain useful information/data.
- We select the relevant information that best suits the scope of work.
- We process the data for analysis. We use different methods for analysis. For example, if we have a lot of statistical data, we analyse it using the SPSS program (just as we would if we collected data through field work).