Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950558 | Print ISBN: 9780761926092 | Online ISBN: 9781412950558| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
James W. Altschuld & David D. Kumar
Needs assessment is a process or a systematic set of procedures undertaken for the purpose of setting priorities and making decisions about program or organizational improvement or allocation of resources. The priorities come from identified needs, which are measured discrepancies (gaps) between the current (what is) state of affairs of a group or organization and the desired (what should be) state in regard to variables of interest. A prioritized need can be thought of as representing a problem or situation that should be rectified for the good of the organization and the groups it serves. The general steps in the needs assessment process are initial focusing on an area of concern for the assessment; determining and prioritizing the “what should be”s; ascertaining the current status, or “what is”; identifying discrepancies between what is and what should be; rank-ordering discrepancies; causally analyzing the greatest discrepancies; selecting a solution strategy; and designing ...