Secondary Research: Why, What, How and Best Practices
What is secondary research
It is the summary or collation of research that has already been performed by another company, government agency, publication, etc. While the primary research done with the SMEs will be specifically related to the focus of your crowdsourcing project, the secondary sources will lay a foundation of information and knowledge around the subject as a whole.
Why conduct secondary research
You will want to gather your own additional research to better understand the crowdsourcing area outside of the information you receive from the SME interviews. The secondary research can also help you expand upon the key insights learned from the SMEs.
What to look for
Use the Research Gathering Template as a tool to save links to resources and highlight important pieces of information. Some of the questions below are included on the template as starting points for your searches:
- What is the history of this market? How has it changed in the past 10 years?
- How would you describe the market today (size, focus, numbers of researchers)?
- How is the market currently segmented? Who are the major players? What is their role?
- What are the current market problems and failures (technological, people, fiscal, public)?
- How have these failures been arrived at? What aspects of the market currently support and condition them?
- Who has attempted to address these failures? Why did their efforts not work?
- What research efforts are being accomplished across the segments? By whom?
- What are some important, recent breakthroughs?
- What are the efforts that are currently being done to develop solutions, deploy solutions, or adopt solutions?
- Where do people believe the breakthroughs will happen? Why or why not?
- Who are the stakeholders? Who is involved in the market? Who would be interested in the solution?
How to conduct secondary research
You can either perform the research yourself or outsource it to a freelancer (outsourcing site examples can be found under Best Practices).
If you decide to outsource, follow the below steps:
- Determine buckets of research to outsource
- Create job descriptions for outsourcing sites (see example in Job Description Template attachment)
- Post jobs to outsourcing sites with realistic deadlines
- Review applications and hire 1 to 2 individuals
- Follow up with outsourcers a couple of days prior to the deadline
- Post additional job descriptions as required
- Close jobs with outsourcer(s) and post feedback
If you decide to conduct the research yourself, keep in mind the following:
- Be sure to use current, reliable sources. You do not want information that is no longer relevant if advances have been made in your crowdsourcing area.
- Use multiple sources to validate the information you are finding, especially if you are coming across discrepancies.
To outsource the research, here are a few sites where you can hire freelancers on a per job basis:
NOTE: HeroX cannot guarantee the quality of work from any of the above freelancing websites. We can only provide what has succeeded for us in the past. Use your best judgement when posting jobs and hiring individuals.
Good outsourcing is:
- Specific results with specific criteria
- 1-3 step tasks
- Minimizing risk by having the freelancer conduct a small portion of the research and submitting the results before having them finish the entire project
Bad outsourcing is:
- Assigning big projects with minimal knowledge of the hires' skillset, time to produce etc.
- Poor job description
- Vague criteria