Secondary Research

A potent method within the research toolkit, secondary research can provide valuable and inspiring research-based insight.

An undervalued method that is often omitted from research roadmaps, over the years Anagram Research has engaged in secondary research in multiple different ways:

  • Stand-alone projects

    We have inspired our clients and identified areas for improvement and innovation through trends analysis, competitor research or benchmarking.

    The secondary research projects we undertake are customized to align with specific objectives, budgets and timelines. Our engagements have included quick projects that could be accomplished in a week, as well as complex initiatives requiring a dedicated commitment of a month or more.

    Our expertise and approach to secondary research has evolved over the years – We have learnt to anticipate and navigate challenges, conduct research systematically and efficiently, and adapt or construct frameworks to make our findings relevant and easily digestible.

    • A framework that we recently used, was inspired by Raymond William’s ‘Marxist Theory of Culture.’
      Although originally used in the field of cultural studies, the ideologies referenced in his work (‘Dominant’, ‘Residual’ and ‘Emergent’), beautifully translated into a timescale for a Trends Map we were working on.

  • Secondary Research to gain perspective

    While we work across industries, some of the projects that come to us are very domain specific. Gaining a deeper understanding about the domain or topic of research during primary research planning helps sharpen and contextualize our approach.

    We gain perspective and immerse ourselves in these projects by conducting stakeholder interviews or by referencing relevant information, expert opinions and diverse perspectives in the form of reports, articles, blogs or previously conducted research.

  • Mixed Method Approach

    At Anagram Research, we often use secondary research to substantiate and complement our primary research insights.

    • In a project exploring different forms of online abuse, we interacted with 30 users across India, to understand their experiences as witnesses or victims of online abuse. Primary research comprising a week-long diary study, followed by in-depth interviews resulted in rich data.

      During analysis, secondary research helped us to contextualize some of our findings and enhance credibility of our primary research insights.
      For example, the ‘Bad Girl’ poster created by design students of Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology is a parody of Indian school posters from the 80’s and 90’s. It depicts tongue-in-cheek examples of things men might get away with, but women would be judged for.

      We referenced the poster in our insights report, to illustrate the extent of patriarchal attitudes and mindsets towards women in India. Minus this example, some of our primary research findings might have been harder to relate to for a foreign audience unfamiliar with India’s socio-cultural context.

    • Secondary research on the same project highlighted forms of digital abuse like ‘Hindutva Pop’ and ‘MTV Troll Police’.
      We had not heard about these formats during user interactions, and these findings supplemented our primary research insights or tied in to themes that had emerged during primary research.

      For example, we had learnt through primary research that inherent negative emotions stemming from the stress of dealing with life and its challenges, is one of the catalyst’s to online abuse. The reality show ‘MTV Troll Police’ corroborated this insight – Interviews with trolls featured on the show highlighted that trolling is linked to frustration, boredom and the need for attention.

  • Analogous Inspiration

    We use secondary research in the form of ‘analogous inspiration’ to encourage and inspire clients to look at problems and pain points through fresh eyes.

    • In a project for a multinational electronics and home appliances manufacturer, we created ‘Brainstorming Cards’ to highlight our primary research insights in a more tangible format.

      Problems and needs identified through primary research were placed on the front of printable cards. ‘How might we’ questions were placed at the bottom of each card to prompt the design team to think about each problem as an opportunity for design.
      The cards could also be flipped for more inspiration – The back of each card contained related pictures and snippets from fieldwork, or analogous or existing solutions in the market that were identified through secondary research.