How to use Desk Research for Design Thinking

One of the most important stages on Product Design is research. It may include many types of research, such as Product Discovery, but Desk Research is definitely one of the most important. Here we will cover the concept of desk research and its types, to understand why it is so relevant for design thinking.

What is Design Thinking

Design thinking is a set of methods and processes that approach problems related to data collection, scenario analysis and proposal of solutions. It is a way to resolve issues, develop products and plan projects based on the cognitive process used by designers. Some of its activities include: research, brainstorm, prototyping, among others.

According to Tim Brown on his book Change by Design, “Design Thinking relies on our ability to be intuitive, to recognize patterns, to construct ideas that have emotional meaning as well as functionality, to express ourselves in media other than words or symbols.”

Types of Desk Research for Design Thinking

There are two main types of desk research methodologies.

Internal Desk Research

Here the analysed data come from inside the organization, such as information related to which products will be sold, their respective amounts and costs, and to whom. Processes used internally, by any sector, can many times offer great insight for the rest of the team. Besides having easier access to information, internal desk research uses a reduced number of resources.

External Desk Research

As you can imagine, external research will be held outside of the organization, and may have different types of sources. Even so, always keeping in mind the accuracy and validity of the information collected.

Government data

Governmental organizations usually perform reoccurring research in social, financial, and economic areas. Such data may be a good starting point to uncover consumer habits or behaviours, for example.


This is without a doubt the source with the greater amount of information. But it is important to be careful not to lose focus when doing online research. You must define guidelines for research, list the main themes and keep an eye on the time invested. Your efforts must generate good results.

Talking with users

One of the best practices to extract information for research is talking directly with the user. That is the person with better understanding about how a product or service is used in real life. Therefore, consumer feedback can be extremely helpful and may be used effectively to continue the investigation process.

Whatever is the selected source, desk research for design thinking must be extensively planed. How long are we spending on research? How many competitors are we analysing? These are fundamental questions and must be answered before anything else. Besides, it is important to keep a register of everything that was researched to avoid repeating and facilitate future consultation.

UX Desk Research

Research is indispensable for UX and UI design. It helps designers by understanding the pains and needs of the users, two very important details for creating the right digital product. Still, many organizations fail to perform UX research, as it requires different competencies than UX design.

For that, it’s important to have multi-skilled teams working on your next digital project. Our remote teams are highly qualified to perform research, sprints and design thinking to brainstorm the perfect solution, and create flawless UX design. Talk to one of our consultants today on how we can build the perfect digital product together!

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