Needs assessments are tools used to identify the strengths and resources available within a designated geographic area to meet the needs of a specific population. The assessment focuses on demographic characteristics of the population under consideration, capabilities of the community including its citizens, agencies, and organizations, community needs, and available resources. Need in this context can be conceived of the difference between “what is” and “what should be.”
The Datacorp Team uses a variety of needs assessment tools and methods to answer these questions. The tools can include conducting surveys, key informant interviews, focus groups, capacity analyses, and a variety of methods for conducting secondary data analyses including social indicator analysis and synthetic estimation.
In many cases, a comprehensive, mixed- method approach utilizing two or more methods can provide a more thorough assessment of need and capture critical information about populations that a single methodology would miss. Datacorp can assist clients in selecting appropriate methodologies based on their needs, budget, and timeline.