SWOT Analysis Writing: Tips from 2 Experts
A SWOT analysis is a standard assignment for students in many courses, particularly in business courses. SWOT stands for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats." When a student is required to write a SWOT analysis, he or she must analyze those variables as they pertain to the prospective success or failure of an organization or corporation. Therefore, SWOT analyses can help learners to think critically, objectively, and strategically in order to determine the best- and worst-case scenarios and outcomes for a particular set of intended goals.
In order to write a SWOT analysis, students need to first study what some of the characteristics of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats might be for a given situation. In many cases, SWOT analyses themselves can help to uncover surprising information that may lead to results that students had not predicted.
For example, students who are studying the business of restaurants might learn that it is important to keep a steady cash flow and charge all customers. However, if a customer is unhappy with his or her meal, the student will need to determine the proper course of action, which—based on the SWOT analysis—may be to give the patron a meal without charge.
Students may write SWOT analyses based on a variety of resolution scenarios in order to choose the best scenario, as in the example above. In other cases, students may need to learn how to perform a SWOT analysis simply to determine whether or not a project should be taken on or a business should be developed. This type of SWOT analysis will help learners to understand the many different aspects that go into beginning something new, which will help them to gain a clearer understanding of the many challenges involved with having a business.
SWOT analyses require learners to conduct a large amount of research, which may also require some experimentation and interviewing of industry experts. The goal of the SWOT analysis is to gain an overall image of an incident or opportunity in order to determine the best end result.
A SWOT analysis is similar to a situation analysis. However, a situation analysis can sometimes require learners to study two opposing forces, such as the pros and cons of a situation. A SWOT analysis requires students to consider multiple variables and points of view in order to determine the best outcome possible.
Viewpoint of Author #2
"SWOT" is an acronym that stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is a method of analysis used for critically examining an organization or business in order to determine avenues of improvement. It is likely that business students in both the undergraduate and graduate phases of their studies will be called on to write a SWOT analysis sometime in the course of their degrees. This will typically result in a formal written document reporting on the four SWOT components. A SWOT paper is not the same as a business reference project. It may require that the student incorporate or point to external data to bolster his or her opinions or suggestions regarding the entity being analyzed; however, it is primarily a report based on the student's own acumen in a variety of business-related topics and the student's thorough knowledge of the organization being examined.
A SWOT paper will likely begin with an overview of the organization being analyzed and a description of the particular issue that will be examined using SWOT. Then, it will proceed with the actual SWOT analysis, the first aspect of which is the organization's strengths. This requires the analyzer to outline the strengths of the organization relative to its specific object of analysis. For instance, the SWOT analysis may be in regards to an organization's productivity, so the strengths section would outline the ways in which the organization excels regarding productivity. Next, the report would balance this point by describing the second component of SWOT: the organization's weaknesses regarding productivity. It may, for instance, describe how the business only has three employees when it really needs four to reach its optimum productivity. Then, the SWOT analysis would point to opportunities for productivity to improve. This would not be a generic prescription, but would be based in the organization's realistic capabilities. It would not, for instance, suggest that the three-person organization take on twenty new employees; this is an unrealistic goal for a small business. It may, however, suggest that the organization improve productivity by hiring an additional employee, or having the employees work as teams, or offering incentive plans for increased productivity. Finally, the SWOT analysis would suggest threats to the organization's increased productivity. Again, this should be centered in the everyday reality of the organization. Of course, an earthquake might threaten the organization's productivity, but that is not something the organization can reasonably plan for. The threat section should point out immediate and future common threats.
A SWOT report should present each of the four components of the SWOT analysis in its own paragraph or set of paragraphs, often under separate headings. Each of the four components should be commented on in detail, and should point to various examples illustrating the writer's points.
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