What Is Needs Assessment?

David Royse, Michele Staton‐Tindall, Karen Badger and J. Matthew Webster

in Needs Assessment

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195368789
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199863860 | DOI:

Series: Pocket Guides to Social Work Research Methods

 What Is Needs Assessment?

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This chapter examines definitions and various perspectives of the terms need and needs assessment. Need is a relative term that can have different meanings to various individuals and communities. The chapter teaches that there is not a single way to conceptualize needs assessment, rather the focus of a needs assessment effort can be directed specifically at the awareness of services, availability, accessibility, or acceptability of services. Knowledge about how clients or the community view an agency's services along these four foci improves service delivery and helps the agency to be more responsive and accountable. Needs assessments are part of a program planning development cycle that includes an evaluation of the impact of the intervention on the population with need. Social workers use needs assessments to secure resources to address macro problems, to assist in the modification of policy, to improve services, and to establish or strengthen partnerships with other agencies and organizations.

Keywords: definition; expressed need; normative need; felt need; comparative need; awareness; availability; accessibility; acceptability

Chapter.  5993 words.  Illustrated.

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