How to Write a SWOT Research Analysis

If you’re writing a SWOT research analysis, there are a few key things that you want to keep in mind. A SWOT research analysis is a way to look at another company and this could be a competitor, or someone who you want to do business with. What you want to do is use a SWOT analysis method that breaks down all the details on the company.

A SWOT research analysis is defined as S.W.O.T., or strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. If you are going to write out a SWOT analysis, there are a few key things that you have to focus on. For starters, you want to write out a detailed description of the company that you’re going to be:

  • Discussing
  • researching
  • and analyzing

Find research online

What that means is you want to get all the details you can on the company. You may want to start online and go to their website. When you go to the website try to get as much information you can about them and if you can’t find it there, you can go to sites like Wikipedia. This can give you information on the company and it might let you know how they started. It will give you background information like the number of employees, their services and focus. You may not always find this on their website, so researching online is a great way to get more details.

Start building your SWOT

Your next step will be to start your actual SWOT analysis so on your paper. You are going to put down a box with four equal boxes inside. In the first one you can write ‘strengths’, next to that, ‘weaknesses’. Write ‘opportunities’ below the strengths and next to that write ‘threats’.


As you do the research of a company, you want to look at areas where you know they’re strong. Maybe they were in the news recently because they made a lot of money or they bought another company. That’s big news that you want to list. They may have even started working on a really big deal.

For example, if you were looking at Facebook (read the SWOT analysis of social media), you might say: “Wow, Facebook stock has gone up a lot and they’ve been in the news a lot lately”. That’s a strength.


In the next block, begin writing down the company’s weaknesses. Start looking up the weaknesses the company might have. When you look at weaknesses, you want to look at all the problems that the company has had in the news. A great example would be Walmart which has been in the news a lot because of labor issues. They’ve had problems with:

  • unions
  • with paying employees
  • not giving high salaries

These are all weaknesses. You also want to make sure that you look at things like their stock and whether or not you are reading articles that say they’re doing well or if they’re doing poorly.


You next step is going to be about the opportunities. What you want to do ideally is to look at what the company mentions in their latest press release. A press release can tell you basically a little bit of information about a company and what they’re getting ready to do next. You can also look at an annual report or an earnings report.

You don’t want to read the full report because that might take days to get through! A lot of the information in there is really a bunch of numbers, so you want to go to the summary of the report.

The easiest way to do this is to just do a search for that particular company and search for the summary in their annual report. So if it was Facebook that you were looking up, you can go under Facebook and then type in ‘annual report summary’. This is a recap so you will find all the information there. Alternatively, you could just type in their annual report and then Facebook and look for the first few articles that come up from different companies or firms who are writing articles about them.

You may also find that there are finance companies who write about them and give articles with details on their weakness and opportunities. What they are giving you is a SWOT in a different version. They’re going to give you a smaller detailed version of what you need to know. What you’re going to look for is any opportunity that they may be working on in the future. For example, if you were doing opportunities for Netflix, you might see something like them mentioning that they now have a new season of Game of Thrones or the new season of their show Orange is the New Black. That’s because they actually mention things they’re working on in their particular business because they do streaming videos. They are going to mention them, but they won’t tell you who is in which episode!

While these might be popular videos, they are also considered opportunities because these are areas where they are expanding. Keep in mind this is not always the case. A few years ago Netflix lost a big deal with the video channel Starz where they pulled their movies from the Netflix line-up because Starz and Netflix were fighting over money. Some news will be good and some news will be bad.


As it relates to threats, that’s going to be the next line that you typing. You’re going to write what the competition is for this particular company you’re looking at.

Netflix threats could be Blockbuster which is going through bankrupt filings. You could say Roku is another threat. You could mention other companies like Play On, Sling and these are all different streaming content sites. You can also mention Amazon Prime.

This is how you are going to start writing your SWOT analysis. Make sure that it is detailed and well-rounded. You are also going to update this information within another year or so if you’re looking at this company again because you need fresh details and a fresh report.

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