Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Research Guides

OCT 1133: Professional Practice #3

Library resources to help with your 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 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


Researching your market

Venn diagram illustrating elements of secondary market researchWondering how your market research will be affected by COVID-19? Read this.


Market research is divided into two parts:
1. Primary market research: interviews and other research involving YOUR (potential) customers, competitors, etc. done in the field.
2. Secondary market research: third-party market research on customer or user groups, relevant industries and competitors or partner companies

This page lists best bets for UTL library databases to find
secondary competitor/company, industry/sector, and
customer/user data.

Quick links to core entrepreneurship databases

Quick links to open and free market research resources (no UTOR sign in)

Learn more about primary vs. secondary research methods