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Research Guides

OCT 1233: Occupational Therapy Practice 3

Library resources to help with your field work and consulting assignments

Environmental scanning

"Environmental scanning is a process that systematically surveys and interprets relevant data to identify external opportunities and threats. An organization gathers information about the external world, its competitors and itself. The company should then respond to the information gathered by changing its strategies and plans when the need arises."

The purpose of an environmental scan is to survey the landscape around a problem space (or organization etc) and understand the EXTERNAL factors that shape strategy.

First, gather external information, which can encompass government, legal, economic, demographic, and social data (PESTLE analysis)

Next, research competitors to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (industry/competitor analysis)

Finally, assess your internal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, as well as future goals (SWOT analysis)

This should be done regularly to identify trends and unforeseen changes, so goals and strategies can be adjusted.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management

"Environmental scan" does not describe a single searchable document type. It requires you to draw on multiple sources to synthesize and create a unique report.

Environmental scans can and should cover:
● Existing solutions to the problem and the people, organizations and communities solving it
● Industry metrics and trends affecting the problem space
● PESTLE framework for environment analysis including:

○ Policy, Regulatory and Political situation and trends
○ Economic (micro and macro) situation and trends affecting a problem space and the actors in it
○ Social and Cultural situation and trends affecting a problem space and the actors in it
○ Technological development and scientific discovery state of the art and trends
○ Legal environment and trends
○ Environmental conditions and trends


Recommended research databases for your environmental scan

See the pages on the left navigation for more options.