Thursday, November 22, 2007

NEED ANALYSIS ........... Part 14


Every research undertaking will foremost begin with the need to clearly understand what exactly is the cause of the pressing problem or pressing issue and exactly who is affected. Need analysis is the process of identifying and evaluating such needs in the community or other defined population of people. The identification of needs is a process of describing “problems” of a target population and possible solutions to these problems. A need has been described as:

------• A gap between “what is” and “what should be.” (Witkin et al., 1995)
------“A gap between real and ideal that is both acknowledged by community values and potentially amenable to change.” (Reviere, 1996, p. 5)
------• May be different from such related concepts as wants (“something people are willing to pay for”) or demands (“something people are willing to march for”). (McKillip, 1987)

Need analysis usually focuses on the future, or what should be done, rather than on what was done as is the focus of most program evaluations. Some people also use the related term “needs assessment”.


The focus here is entirely on “gap” or need analysis. The following steps are suggestions from McKillip, 1998.

1.----First, you identify the audience and purposes for the need analysis (what McKillip, 1998, calls the users and uses).

2.----Second, you fully describe the target population and service environment. Altschuld et al. (2000) point out three levels of target groups and their respective needs:
------------Level 1--- (Primary) targets are the direct recipients of the

------------Level 2--- (Secondary) targets include the individuals or groups

--------------------------who deliver the services; and
------------Level 3--- (Tertiary) involves the resources and inputs into the

--------------------------solutions (e.g., buildings, salaries, facilities, etc.).

These researchers emphasize that the focus of the Need analysis should be on Level 1 because that is the reason for the existence of levels 2 and 3, not the other way around.

3. The third step is need identification where descriptions of the problems (beyond the general level noted in step 1) and possible solutions are generated. This is where you illustrate the gaps between expected/ideal and actual outcomes. You want to gather information from more than one level of target, although you should focus on the primary targets.

4. The fourth step is called needs assessment by McKillip (1998). This is the time to evaluate the identified needs. Which are the most important? Do any of the needs conflict with other needs? Is there consistent agreement across levels of target groups about the relevance and importance of the needs?

5. Finally, you communicate your results to the audience identified in the first step.


At November 16, 2009 at 10:05 PM, Blogger Research Writer said...

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