ERIC Number: ED281885
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Oct-30
Reference Count: 0
Limiting the Scope of Needs Assessment Studies or (How We Learned to Set Limits--And Feel No Guilt).
Eastmond, J. Nicholls, Jr.; And Others
Needs assessment is an activity undertaken for planning purposes. It is important to define the limits of the study and design it on a scale appropriate to the entire planning process. This paper suggests that a needs assessment be structured into two phases. In the pre-assessment phase, a conceptual framework and well-defined exploratory activities delineate the focus and scope of the assessment. The second phase is the formal assessment, in which the data-gathering tasks are limited to areas of concern highlighted by the pre-assessment. The pre-assessment phase is typically conducted by the needs assessor and small numbers of key informants. The formal assessment phase extends to a sampling of the larger population of clients, namely service receivers, service providers, and stakeholders. Three strategies for dealing with problems of scope are described: identifying critical issues, defining limits through analyses of existing data, and conceptualizing the problem using a "matrix assessment." The strategies can be used separately or in combination. Examples from educational and other settings are used to show the application of the strategies in different content areas. (Author/JAZ)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Evaluation Association (Kansas City, MO, October 29-November 1, 1986).