Needs Assessments


A needs assessment is a systematic approach to studying the state of knowledge, ability, interest, or attitude of a defined audience or group involving a particular subject (McCawley, 3). Needs assessments are used to learn about important issues and problems faced by the public. A needs assessment provides a method to learn about what exists and what is needed. Learn more here.

How to Learn Needs Assessments

“Ask yourself: What are our reasons for choosing to do this survey?
Ask yourself: What are our goals in doing this survey?
Ask yourself: Are we ready to conduct this survey?”

“Decide how much time you have to do the survey, from start to finish.
Decide how many people are going to be asked.
Decide what kinds of people will be asked.
Decide what questions will be asked.
Decide who will as the questions.”

“Create a draft of the full survey.
Try out the survey on a test group.
Revise the survey on the basis of your test group feedback.
Administer the survey.”

“Tabulate your results.
Interpret your results.
Plan future actions.
Implement your actions.”

Please note: There are other ways to learn about community needs. You can do interviews with community members, or conduct observations, or study community records. You should always check about surveys that might have been conducted in the past, and use them as best you can.

For a more detailed version, click here” (Berkowitz and Nagy).

Berkowitz, Bill and Jenette Nagy. “How do you carry out a needs assessment survey? A step by step approach.” Community Tool Box. Retrieved December 10, 2014.


“The Community Tool Box is a free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change. Their mission is to promote community health and development by connecting people, ideas, and resources” (Community Tool Box).

They provide many examples of community Needs Assessments.

More Information/Resources

Image by Learning Space Toolkit – Needs Assessment Process

Written by: Nicole Chappelle and Janae Teal
Last updated: 1 January 2016

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