Using a SWOT analysis to reflect on transnational campus research.

Year: 2021

Author: Blackley, Susan, Butler, Bella

Type of paper: Individual Paper

In this presentation, we reflect on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of conducting educational research across the transnational campuses of Curtin University. The presenters are part of a large, collaborative research team currently investigating the collaborative advantage of knowledge transfer and contextualised learning across Curtin University’s campuses. We study an educational network in Curtin University transnational campuses created by major actors for complex subjects – MGMT6010 Corporate Strategy and MGMT3010 Strategic Management. These subjects were chosen for their pioneering role in the implementation of two-way distributed learning, teaching with business simulations, and utilising the most innovative facility of Curtin University’s Faculty of Business and Law – Management HQ. The methodology used in this research was a qualitative case study approach, with each case being a Curtin campus (Western Australia, Mauritius, Singapore, and Malaysia). We collected reflections from the members of the research team about their lived experiences of collaborating in this project using semi-structured interviews (face-to-face and via Web-Ex) and the audio recordings were transcribed using an online service and checked for accuracy by the researchers. After initial open coding, we conducted a thematic analysis of the responses based on the components of a SWOT analysis. In this presentation, we share our findings and make recommendations for successfully conducting transnational research. We consider the two most important parts of SWOT analysis: (1) drawing conclusions from the four SWOT lists about the phenomenon, and (2) translating these conclusions into strategic actions to better match the university’s strategy to its research strengths and market opportunities, to correct the important weaknesses and to defend against external threats. Of significance were the themes that aligned with the identified opportunities and threats – the external factors of a transnational research project. Given that many universities have transnational campuses and that the research expectations of academics (teaching-focused, teaching and research, and research-focused) continue to increase, this presentation is timely and relevant to academics who participate in educational research in higher education.