6. Conduct desk research
Desk research can be done throughout your research. It can assist you with framing, help you to choose survey questions and provide insights to your results.
In this section
Conducting desk research throughout your research process can assist you with framing, help you to choose survey questions and provide contextual clarity or interesting insights to your survey results, such as comparing similarities and differences between your survey results and information produced by civil society and donors.
Perhaps you notice trends in your survey data and want to understand them.
For example, your survey data may reveal that organization budgets are shrinking, but it cannot tell you why this is happening. Reviewing publications can give you context on potential reasons behind such trends.
Building on existing knowledge
Desk research also ensures you are building your research on the existing knowledge regarding your topic, confirming the validity and relevance of your findings.
They may be complimentary or contradictory to existing knowledge, but they must speak to existing data on the topic.
To ensure comprehensive research of the entire funding landscape related to your topic, look at a diverse set of funding sectors.
You can consider:
- Women’s Funds
- Private and Public Foundations
- International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs)
- Bilateral and Multilateral Agencies
- Private Sector Actors
- Individual Philanthropists
Include any other relevant sectors to this research.
For example, you may decide that it is also important to research local non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
Potential sources for desk research (non-exhaustive)
1. Donors’ websites and annual reports
These are direct sources of information about what funders are actually doing and generally contain information on policies and budgets. Researching this before interviewing donors can result in more focused questions and a stronger interview.
2. Online sources of information
- Alliance Magazine
- Council on Foundations newsletter
- Devex blog & bulletins
- Foundation Center news
- Articles written by activists and organizations in your survey population
- AWID’s Donor list
- Philanthropy Journal
- Institute of Development Studies