Academic and social research skills involved with SWOT

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The following assignment is going include an evaluation of portfolio 1 and show development through reflective practice. It will include the definition of reflective practice and a definition of SWOT analysis. It will also include my target of the academic year, so it will include what I wish to get out of this year. Furthermore it will also include a SWOT analysis which will be evaluated and analysed.

The definition of Reflective practice is "reflective process of continuous learning through thoughtful examination of one's work." (Greenwald, 2006, p.91) this quote suggests that reflective practice is something you can learn from analysing a piece of work.

Another definition I found was "Reflective practice demands the ability to analyse the situations and make judgements specific to the effectiveness of situational interventions and the quality of outcomes." (Zuzelo, 2007, p.3) this quote is similar to Lerner 2006 as it states reflective practice is judging and learning through previous work done in the past. I would agree with the two authors, reflective practice is learning from previous work and taking ideas and expanding on them to develop further.

SWOT stands for "strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats." (Sandlin, 2010, p.137) The objective of using SWOT is "confrontation of the company's internal strengths and weaknesses as well as company-external business opportunities and threats in order to generate strategic options." (Bohm, 2008, p.1) this quote suggests that a SWOT analysis is carried out to analyse the strengths the things I am good at, weaknesses the things I am not so good at, opportunities the things which are available to me and threats the things which could obstruct my development, this will help me create a strategy in order to tackle the weaknesses and threats and to work on the strengths and opportunities.

Another definition of it is "SWOT analysis is a simple, straightforward framework that provides direction and serves as a catalyst for the development of viable marketing plans." (Hartline, 2008, p.117) this suggests that SWOT is an easy tool to use which will help me to create my personal academic skill development plan.

I am now going to carry out a SWOT analysis.

SWOT

Strengths

Working in a team

Getting most from lectures

ICT skills

Communication skills

Weaknesses

preparing for exams

academic writing skills

referencing

Presentation skills

Researching

Opportunities

Home sickness

Cricket commitments

Threats

WebCT

Library

Cricket club captaincy

Strengths

I believe working in groups or teams is one of my strengths as I have good communication skills which always help when working in a team as (Campbell,2009,p.253) states "communication skills in a team is the most important skills a person could possess." I believe when given a task to do with the help of my team I always give it my best shot and do it on time. I believe taking notes from lectures is another strengths of mine as I have good listening skills which helps me understand what is being taught, further more I also participate in all the activities in the lectures and give my best shot to every time I participate. Looking further my ICT skills are good as I have been working on this skill for the past two years in my foundation degree, where I used Microsoft word, excel and PowerPoint. These are my academic strengths which I currently possess which are crucial in order to pass my final academic year "Students will need a sufficient level of familiarity and mastery of ICT to be successful in their further education." (OECD, 2006,p.408)

Weaknesses

I have many weaknesses which I would like to turn into strengths for example preparing for exams which I have encountered problems with through out my studies going back to my GCSE' s, I have encountered problems revising for the exams, so picking up techniques of revising for exams will be a priority in my final year, "working at exam techniques is an important ingredient in exam success." (Jones, 2003, p.375) Further more my academic writing skills is also my weakness which would become a barrier for getting good grades in my final year, so to work on my academic writing skills is one of my top priorities. Another weakness I would like to convert into strength is referencing because it has now changed to APA style referencing compared to the Harvard referencing which I am used to from my foundation degree. Presentation skills is also one of my weaknesses which I would like to work on in order to pass my final year this is because in strategic sports unit I have to complete a presentation in order to pass the unit so if I could tackle my weak presentation skills I would stand a better chance of getting good marks in the unit. "Once you have cracked how to do presentations well, you will realise that it is easier to get good grades for a presentation than for a piece of writing." (Sinfield, 2008, p.253) Researching is another major weakness which I need to tackle in order to pass my final year as all my units requires large amount of research so to get to grips with research it would put me in a good position to get good marks in my assignments, "Research is fundamental to academic work." (Robson, 2006, p.61) I have now addressed the academic weaknesses which I need to work on in order to complete my final year and get a good grade.

Opportunities

There are some opportunities out there which would help me with developing some of my weaknesses into strengths for example there is a library which is open till eleven o'clock Mondays to Fridays and also on the weekend which gives me the opportunity to read up books which would give me guidance in how to work on my weaknesses for example read books which gives you different ideas to prepare and revise for exams and also how to carry out research which would give me the knowledge how to tackle some of my weaknesses. Further more the Manchester met WebCT is also an opportunity which i could use in order to tackle some of my weaknesses for example it shows you the correct way to use APA references and gives me some help of how to undertake research, so this is an opportunity which i would like to take in order to work on my weaknesses and pass my year. The opportunity of becoming my cricket club captain has opened the door for me to work on my presentation skills which I would be doing on a regular basis at my cricket club where as I will be the focus of attention in changing rooms similar to the presentation which I will be carrying out in strategic sport unit where I will be focus of attention, so if I can get the feel of speaking in front of people at my cricket club this would put me in a good position in my presentation.

Threats

There are couple of threats which can be a barrier which could come in the way of achieving my goals for example I could get home sick as this is the first time I am away from my family, this could become a major threat because I will want to see my family often which would keep me away from studying and this could result in not giving enough time to my studies. Another threat could be my commitments to cricket as I am the captain of my cricket team and this would mean spending enormous amount of time playing cricket and attending club meeting which would be a distraction and therefore result in giving less time to my studies.

Target

My target for this academic year is to get 50% overall in my units and this I think is a realistic target because I have plenty of in my hands as I am staying away from family and friends which results in no major distractions which normally would be a barrier as I get distracted very easily and this has gave me the opportunity to concentrate fully on my university work.

I do not want to set a higher target then overall 50% although I would love to this is because I have 5 academic weaknesses which can be seen in the SWOT analysis, these weaknesses need improving in order for me to get good marks in my final year.

Actions

Time period

Academic writing

Undertake lots of reading on academic writing

Through out the year

Referencing

Look at WebCT for gaining knowledge in how to do APA referencing

Couple of weeks

Researching

Spend 4-5 hours a week reading around my subject which will help me on my researching skills

Through out the year

Get all my work done few days before deadline day which would give me the opportunity to proof read it and make adjustments on it if required

Through out the year

Preparing for exams

Carry out reading on how to prepare for exams and pick up relevant techniques of ways of revising which would help me greatly for my exam in the strategic sport unit. Try to get hold of past exams and practise which would also help me prepare for the exam.

Carry out this plan 2 months before the exam

Presentation skills

Work on my presentation skills at my cricket club by talking to the whole team as many times as possible which will give me the feel of how it's like talking in front of people when all the focus is on me. This would hopefully make me confident talking in front of people which I have to do in my for my sport strategic unit where I have to carry out 30minutes presentation.

Also read around how to carry out an effective presentation.

Through out the year

I am now going draw up an action plan which is going to tackle my 5 academic weaknesses

Plan

Reflection on first portfolio

Looking at my first portfolio I identified four major weaknesses, which were problem solving, evaluating and analysing a piece of work and researching. Looking at these weaknesses now a month later I believe I have worked on two weaknesses by doing large amounts of reading, the two weaknesses are problem solving and evaluating and analysing a piece of work. For the problem solving I read many books for example Problem solving and comprehension 1999 which gave me different methods for solving problems when they arise, further more process problem solving: a guide for maintenance and operations teams 2001 was another book which helped me overcome this weakness as this book gave me information on how to judge a problem and gave me knowledge how to tackle problems.

The second weakness I believe I tackled by reading books such as Analysis to Evaluation: Tools, Tips, and Techniques for Trainers 2008, this gave me knowledge on how to go about analysing and evaluating a piece of work by giving me relevant steps I needed to take to first analyse a piece work and then evaluating it.

Furthermore In the first portfolio I mentioned I had good academic skills, which now I believe is untrue this is because by completing my foundation degree I am at level 5 and this year I need to move up to level six, so in order to get through my final year with good marks I need to work hard my academic skills to move up to level six. Looking at my first portfolio there is a weakness I mentioned which was researching skills, I believe this still is one of my weaknesses a month into my final year; this would need working on because every unit in this year requires large amounts of research in order to get good marks.

There was few strengths which I mentioned in my first portfolio for example communication skills and ICT skills which I still believe are my strengths as I communicate with lots for people for example customers at my workplace, my friends and university peers which allows me to maintain good communication skills, looking at ICT skills this will remain a strength because I use ICT everyday for example I use it for my university studies were I use Microsoft word, PowerPoint and excel, I also use ICT for communicating with my friend via chat rooms and social network such as Facebook. "The more you enjoy an activity, the more likely you will be successful at it." (Blomquist, 2006, p.86)

 

Evaluation of SWOT

Working in a team is one of my strengths and I think it will get better as this year goes on because I am required to work in a group for three of my units which will enhance my team working skills, but I have to be aware of getting de-motivated because if I end up doing things wrong and holding up my teams progression, and it might effect my confidence and may lead my performance to drop which will not be good thing and dent my chance of getting that 50% overall which I am aiming to achieve at the end of this year.

I believe communication skills will be my great asset when working in a team on my units because if I can communicate with my team effectively, it will make things clear in what our tasks are, and if I understand my task it will put me in a good position to do my tasks effectively which will result in being in good position to attain that 50% I am hope to achieve, "a team works best when it understands its purposes and goals." (Streibel, 2003, p.6)

I take ICT skills as one of my strengths will help me to gain 50% overall mark, because if I can use ICT effectively it would give me good opportunity to achieve my target because all my units work is to be typed up using computer technology, furthermore in my sports strategic unit I am required to stage a PowerPoint presentation and my ICT skills put me in a good position to prepare a good presentation which will help me achieve my 50% target.

Looking at my weakness of preparing for exams might not go to plan as there will be other work due in at the same time as my exam date, which will effect my chances of doing well in my exam, so time management will play as major factor of achieving my target, so I will have to give equal time to my exam preparation as well as concentrate on other work. "Time management skills enable a person to implement the work plan in the most effective and efficient way." (Halan, 2007, p.21)

My plan on working on presentation skills make a blow as there is always a chance of getting sacked as captain at my cricket club which will give me less opportunity to talk to groups of people as no longer I will be focus of attention. This will affect my chances of getting achieving my target, so to tackle this problem I will need a contingency plan.

Home sickness may affect my chances of achieving my 50% target because I would want to see my family often which will give me less time of concentrating on my studies, "Persistent feelings of homesickness can lead to lack of concentration and ability to perform." (Fantina, 2006, p.102) But on the other hand if I see them often they would keep motivating me to carry on studying hard which will give me more drive for achieving my target. "Another motivation for students to do well is their parents." (Ravitch, 2003 , p.194)

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