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Needs Assessment And Swot Analysis

1002 words - 5 pages

Needs assessments are imperative to the success of a project. They are an essential part of the planning process. A need assessment guides the administrators as they define the terms of the project. A needs assessment is defined as, “a systematic approach to studying the state of knowledge, ability, interest, or attitude of a defined audience or group involving a particular subject” (McCawley, 2009, p. 3). An effective needs assessment provides insight, information, is objective, and assists in identifying gaps in services.
Timmreck (2003) states that a needs assessment is used to, “Ascertain what resources, services, equipment, or other available items exist for use in the program being ...view middle of the document...

90). There are different approaches that can be utilized to collect the data for a needs assessment. Some approaches to collecting data for a needs assessment include: surveys, interviews, focus groups and working groups (McCawley, 2009). The approaches to a needs assessment as defined by Timmreck include: knowledgeable leader/key informant approach, community forum approach, rates under treatment approach, social and health status indicators approach, service population approach, focus groups, community diagnosis approach, and survey approach (2003). The survey approach is used most widely and designed to be simple or complex (Timmreck, 2003).
The service population approach “focuses on a specific target population and uses techniques similar to marketing techniques” (Timmreck, 2003). The service population approach is good because it provides direct insight to the actual needs of the intended service population (Timmreck, 2003). This approach is also good because it identifies if any needs have evolved or changed in the target population (Timmreck, 2003). When utilizing a focus group it is important to remember that, “The similarity with focus groups is largely due to the interaction among participants. As a consequence, the resulting output is more of a collective product and less reflective of the needs of any one individual” (McCawley, 2009, p. 20).
The administrators need to maintain objectivity during a needs assessment because, “The objectives will dictate how the needs assessment is to be designed and conducted” (McCawley, 2009, p. 4). McCawley states that, “Various objectives of a needs assessment are based on two things: who is asking the questions (what is your mission and responsibility?); and who is the target audience” (2009, p. 4). When administrations ask these two questions they can maintain objective during the needs assessment process.
The SWOT analysis helps identify gaps in services. The SWOT analysis is defined as, “Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat. A SWOT analysis guides you to identify the positives and negatives inside your organization (S-W) and outside of it, in the...

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