SWOT is a neat thinking tool: rather than just throw ideas around to try to unpick a problem or situation it uses words to direct attention. As an acronym it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. For example, if you had an idea for writing a book and wanted to analyse it you might think about the following:
- Strengths: what resources do you have? What knowledge can you pass on?
- Weaknesses: what will you struggle with in the writing? What is difficult to share?
- Opportunities: can you use the same material for something else? What doors might it open?
- Threats: why might this not work? Is there a potential downside by doing it?
I love tools based around framing words and SWOT is a really flexible tool. It works well for reviewing a PhD thesis during viva preparation too:
- Strengths: what are the highlights of the thesis? What might others find valuable?
- Weaknesses: what parts are difficult to explain? What are the limitations of what you’ve done?
- Opportunities: how might you extend your work? What can you do now?
- Threats: how might someone criticise what you’ve done? Are there any potential problems?
What else can you do to look at your thesis a little bit differently?