Situational analyses are used in the marketing world to evaluate a business's needs, strengths and weaknesses. They can also be beneficial when writing research papers in any arena. They can be used to evaluate the validity of the project and the strength of the research or experiments, and they can help isolate areas that may cause problems later in the project.
List between 10 to 20 questions that help identify the full nature and scope of your project. These questions may be what effect, either positive or negative, temperature conditions will have on the outcome of my experiment? Or is the researcher from the previous study someone who is completely unbiased? What year was the previous study completed, and have the theories involved changed since then? What factors can be controlled, and what can not be regulated?
Answer each of your questions in detailed form. Be completely honest, and provide information as in-depth as possible. These 10 to 20 answers will form the basis of your situational analysis. Once you are satisfied that each answer is as complete and truthful as possible, rewrite each answer into a logical, cohesive paragraph.
Use your detailed paragraphs to isolate major problems or issues with your project. You may have problems that arise only when you delve into the heart of your research. Make a detailed plan on how you can address the problems. Write a section for your situational analysis that outlines how you will fix any problems and acknowledges any weaknesses in your project that cannot be fixed.