1. Primary Research.
Its often difficult to figure out what you don't know about something. This is why research people make so much money. But! ...If you do know, what you don't know, its easy, if not embarassing, to do some fairly enlightening, very inexpensive research.
"Supermarket Research." Get a shopping cart, throw in a few likely items, then stroll the isles of your favorite supermarket. I've even taken ads into supermarkets and asked people to comment on different approaches. I've tape-recorded these to convince clients that my ideas were sound.
"Telephone Research." Call people at random. Tell them you're working on an ad for an advertising agency, and you want to get their opinion on something." Most people are nice enough to talk to you. Then edit the verbatums using your handy-dandy sound editor on your computer.
"Front Door Research." Get an official looking clipboard, and a tape recorder, stand somewhere, and ask questions. It's easy, but not for the shy.
2. Secondary Research
Articles contain everything you need to know about anything. Most libraries now have fairly advanced computer systems to help you find what you need. Gone are the days of digging through the Readers Guide to Periodicals. Just ask a librarian to help you research the right data base. There are often several, located in different areas. On the internet, use the Alta Vista search engine.