First Steps in the Needs Assessment Process
Needs assessments vary due to the type of problems that must be assessed, the planned uses of the data collection effort, the resources available, as well as the design and methodology used. Many factors affect the way needs assessments are conducted and it is helpful to think about the topic of needs assessment in terms of a continuum of information gathering approaches. Needs assessments are diverse with regard to purpose, design rigor, generalizability of the findings, the cost of the effort, the number of participants involved, the stakeholders' interests, and other facets. This chapter introduces the basic components of the needs assessment planning process. Needs assessments, no matter how complex or simple, must consider many of the same issues, though they may address them in different ways.
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