All you business researchers out there know the value of a good SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis. Not only is conducting a SWOT analysis useful in the strategic planning process, but reading analyses for other companies can offer the business researcher added insight. But, where do you find them?
One great place to check is the LexisNexis Academic database. Let’s be honest though…sometimes LexisNexis might not feel like the most user-friendly tool. Allow your librarians to reduce the confusion by offering some straight-forward steps you can follow the next time you want to search for a SWOT analysis for a particular company.
Step 1: Follow the ‘databases’ link on the main library website and select LexisNexis from the alphabetical list.
Step 2: Once you’re connected, click on ‘Search by Subject or Topic’ near the top of the screen to reveal a menu. In the section labeled ‘Companies’ select ‘Company Profiles’:
Step 3: Just below the search box, follow the link to ‘Advanced Options’. This will open a new search interface where we can use some fancy syntax to search specifically for SWOT analyses. (Also, the text above the search box should now say ‘Company Profiles Search’):
Step 4: Here’s where it might start to feel a little confusing. Using the new search area we’re going to build what LexisNexis likes to call a “segment search”. In reality, we are just going to specify the search fields we want to use–just like when you choose to search for ‘author’ or ‘title’ in other databases. The big difference here is that the names of the fields are quite different.
Part 1: Specify a company. In the ‘Segment Search’ box, the first thing we want to do is specify what company you are interested in. To do that, you can either use the drop-down menu to select ‘Company’ or you can simply type in the word: COMPANY. (Company is the search field in this case). Now, in parentheses, type in the name of the company:
Part 2: Specify that you want a SWOT analysis. Now we need to tell LexisNexis that you are interested in finding a SWOT analysis for this company. First, type in the word ‘and’ after the company you specified. Next, either use the drop-down menu to select ‘Publication’ or simply type in the word: PUBLICATION. (Publication is also considered a search field). Now, in parentheses, just type in the word ‘swot’:
There you have it. Although it might feel a bit strange, you are really just specifying search fields and plugging in the corresponding information. In this example, I wanted to find ‘Starbucks’ in the company field and anything related to ‘SWOT’ in the publication field. Now just press ‘Apply’ and the main search box will auto-fill with the text you entered:
The results page will show you any existing SWOT analyses for your company of interest. Be sure to pay attention to the publication dates as well as the companies who conducted the analyses–these can both be interesting points of comparison. To read an analysis, just click on its link in the results page:
Of course, you will only be able to find analyses for companies about which LexisNexis has some data. However, many companies are present so it is certainly worth a look!
We hope these steps will make it a bit easier to find what you need. Remember you can always contact the library for help.
My thanks to Earnrolyn at LexisNexis for her ‘business research’ webinar which first introduced me to this wonderful tip!