The first phase of a needs assessment is pre-assessment. During this phase, program planners seek to discover the specific needs of their client populations. Imagine that in your community, you have observed that there are an increasing number of unaccompanied minors from Central American countries, or that there have been an increased number of heat-related fatalities among the aging population. It appears that there may be unmet service needs in your community, and a needs assessment can tell you more information about those needs and help inform your planning to meet them. The initial pre-assessment steps consist of planning who you need to target and how you will effectively gather the data and/or use existing data to inform your planning decisions.   

In this Discussion, you consider human and social services issues that might benefit from needs assessments and begin the initial steps of implementing one for an issue of your choice.  To Prepare  Select an issue relevant to your professional interests that you believe would benefit from a needs assessment. Consider how you might go about implementing a needs assessment for this issue. Use the following questions to guide your thinking: 

•Why do you believe a needs assessment is necessary? 

•What is the target population you hope to gather data about? 

•Are there existing data sources that you can use?  

•Do you need to collect new data? If so, what methods will you use to collect it?  Write a description of the issue you selected. Explain how a needs assessment would benefit this issue and contribute to social change. Then explain the preliminary steps you might take to implement a needs assessment in this area. Include the type of sampling you would use to find key stakeholders and why this type of sampling is appropriate.


Babbie, E. (2016). The basics of social research (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage.   •Chapter 5, “Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement” (pp. 125–158)

 •Chapter 6, “Indexes, Scales, and Typologies” (pp. 159–189) 

•Chapter 7, “The Logic of Sampling” (pp. 190–231) 

•Chapter 9, “Survey Research” (pp. 254–294)    Yuen, F. K. O., Terao, K. L., & Schmidt, A. M. (2013). Effective grant writing and program evaluation for human services professionals. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.  

 •Chapter 3, “Basic Research Methods and Program Evaluation” (pp. 31–72) 

•Chapter 4, “Program Planning and Evaluation” (pp. 73–98)    Required Media  Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.b). Research and program evaluation: Quantitative research—Survey [Video file]. Baltimore, MD: Author.

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