Environmental scanning is the process of collecting and using information from external sources. Its findings usually support the objectives of a larger research project. The scan also involves looking for meaningful relationships among the gathered facts, statistics, events, or trends to provide direction for further research.
Environmental scanning serves the following purposes:
- Gather raw data for analysis, verification, or synthesis with other information obtained.
- Supplement other fact-finding research methods.
- Identify trends and developments relevant to project requirements, e.g., to assess the competition.
- Determine the appropriate process or strategy for additional research.
- Inform decision-making or make recommendations for the best course of action.
The Competency Group experience
Our professional team conducts environmental scanning as an essential component of research and analysis for various studies and projects, such as occupational research. We employ several primary and secondary methods to collect and verify information, such as literature reviews and key informant interviews.
Sample uses of environmental scanning in occupational research
- Review relevant national and international studies on current trends and technological innovations in an occupation or industry.
- Assess the interplay of factors impacting an occupation, its workforce, or the industry in general.
- Determine training needs and required skill sets for professional development of target groups.
- Identify and/or recommend suitable training or education programs and professional/trade certification requirements.
- Provide background information to develop a strategic framework for a workforce development model.
- Update the environmental setting for an occupational profile, e.g., physical requirements, workplace hazards, occupational tools and equipment, workplace culture.
- Point to future directions for occupational development and make recommendations for an action plan.
- Develop standards for an occupation, e.g., Essential Skills profile, competency map, job performance standards, national occupational standards.