Secondary (desk) research is the analysis of information that is available to you, either within your organisation, within your client’s organisation, on social media or otherwise in the public domain.

There is an ever-expanding amount of information already available to you.

That includes research or other market intelligence in the public domain. It might also be information that you already hold within your organisation (or is held within your client’s organisation), including sales data and previous market research. Desk research can help ‘sweat’ such data for further insights.

An increasingly important part of desk research is social media monitoring, to draw insights from the vast amount of information held in social media.

Desk research also involves integrating and cross-checking different sources of intelligence and working out the story behind the data. It’s valuable both as a cost-effective alternative to primary research and also to supplement and enhance primary research. It can be used for market monitoring, competitor analysis, sector profiling, PR and background information.

This course will help you to get the most out of desk research by introducing a range of useful market intelligence sources, explaining how to go about conducting desk research and how to analyse and validate findings.

The course combines theory with practical exercises.

Who would benefit
The courses offer an introduction to researchers new to desk research or can act as a refresher for more experienced researchers looking to fine tune their skills.


  • Identify useful market intelligence sources
  • Understand how to conduct desk research
  • Understand how to analyse and validate findings

Learning outcomes

  • Know how to mine brand conversations and competitor intelligence
  • Be able to combine primary and secondary research effectively
  • Be able to identify the story in the data

The Old Trading House, 15 Northburgh Street,London,EC1V 0JR

Stephen has over 30 years’ experience in market research and consultancy. On the agency side Stephen has worked at Research International (in London and New York) and The Research Business (now Ipsos).
He has also worked on the client side and is a former Head of Research and Customer Insight at Shell UK, a position he held for a 5-year period. In partnership with Trevor Wilkinson, Stephen founded Purple Market Research in 2002. Purple provides both secondary research services and primary research (the latter utilising our data gathering centre, Prevision). Desk research is an important part of Stephen’s toolkit and he has conducted projects relying solely or partly on desk research in over 50 markets. Stephen is a Fellow of the Market Research Society (MRS) and he sat on the MRS Main Board for a 7-year period, stepping down recently. He is also a former Chairman of the Independent Consultants Group. He is a great supporter of monitoring and maintaining professional standards in the research industry. Stephen has an UG degree from the University of Manchester, the qualification being BSc (hons) Mathematics and Management Sciences.
Trevor has over 30 years’ experience in market research and consultancy. He specialises in quantitative research methodologies, in both consumer and business-to-business markets. Trevor learned his trade at AGB and BMRB International, two of the largest UK research agencies (now part of Kantar). He has also worked at ORC International. He ran his own consultancy (Business Diagnostics) prior to launching Purple Market Research in partnership with Stephen Bairfelt. Purple conducts both secondary and primary research, having taken a majority share in data gathering company Prevision in 2019. Trevor has been conducting desk research (either together with or in addition to primary research) for over 25 years.
Since 2011 he has been running, with Stephen, the UK’s only desk research best practice training course. Trevor is also a full certified member of the Market Research Society. He has a degree in English and Philosophy from Keele University.

Additional Information

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