I have just graduated from a masters degree in information systems, and I'm due to begin a role at a large IT consultancy firm in 6 months time.

For the interim I have arranged a period of desk research with one of my old professors. I cannot go into specifics but to give you a taster my research will be around small/medium IT firm strategies.

I will of course receive direction from my professor on the detail, but some general advice for someone wanting to shift into an appropriate mindset for being effective at desk research would be very helpful.

What strategies would you use to tackle a desk research role?

  • 5
    What do you call “desk research”? I can imagine, but maybe you'd rather be explicit about it… – F'x Nov 25 '13 at 19:50
  • I need to find answers/insights to two main topics, and I will be able to use specific databases and the wider internet to do so – G Spencer Nov 25 '13 at 21:46

Set clear objectives and deadlines as early as possible to force yourself into a practical mindset. Don't do it for your supervisor, do it for yourself. Try to funnel your thoughts and ideas into a confined key focus point .

This prevents you from procrastinating (which I consider to be a big threat in desk research).

  • So, if what I get from my supervisor are a couple of major topics (the main 2 objectives), would you advise the objectives I develop are answering sub-questions to that? – G Spencer Nov 25 '13 at 21:52

Sounds like you're doing a literature review on two topics in management strategy. I assume you've been trained to conduct research from your Masters. Grab a (post-graduate) textbook on business research methods and go forth and conduct your literature review. Given you're planning on using publicly available documentation it sounds like a "discourse analysis" of "business strategy." You may want a (post-graduate) textbook on social science discourse analysis.

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