Implementing Strategies For A Community Needs Assessment

 One of the primary areas of focus for research and evaluation in public and nonprofit sectors is exploring the relationship between variables. For example, as a public administrator, you might be interested in determining the effectiveness of a public program. To do this, you would explore the relationship between the program and its intended outcome. Consider a program intended to reduce homelessness. You would need to reduce the number or percentage of citizens who lack suitable housing in order to be considered successful. Sometimes, you might need to consider additional variables in assessing the success of the homelessness program. In this case, measures of association and inferential statistics can help you sort out these types of relationships.

There are many types of inferential statistics (e.g., t-tests for independent samples means, t-tests for proportions, analysis of variance, etc.) and many types of measures of association (e.g., Lambda, Gamma, and Pearson’s r, etc.). A skilled researcher must have the ability to select the most appropriate statistic for a given situation. As noted in your course text, selecting the appropriate statistic is based on the purpose of the research, the measurement level of the variables, the measure’s sensitivity, and the researcher’s familiarity with the statistic. Therefore, there is no “perfect” statistic. Instead, you must determine the “most appropriate” statistic for your research.

Paying particular attention to the selection and use of inferential statistics and measures of association. Review the four criteria for selecting the best measure, keeping in mind the purpose for which you might use measures of association. Finally, think about which inferential statistics and measures of association you might use in your Final Evaluation Design (Final Project) to answer your research question. Use the four criteria to help you make a selection.

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Next Steps

 Complete the final section of your community needs assessment plan. In this section, explain how you will carry out and critique three strategies to address the problem. You will also consider the types of data that you would use to make decisions about how to implement the strategies.

Consider the following example:

Suppose that one of your strategies is to implement a job skills training program to address high unemployment among community members who are unskilled. In order to implement this strategy, you might take several steps, such as developing a curriculum, writing job descriptions for instructors, and creating an advertising/marketing campaign, to name a few. As you complete each step, you might also use different types of data to guide your decisions. For instance, you could review similar training programs in other communities to inform your curriculum, visit the Department of Labor website to identify qualifications, skills, and competitive pay rates for instructors, and speak to someone at the local unemployment office to determine a target audience for advertising and marketing. When critiquing the strategies, you will want to consider how well each strategy addressed the problem and how well it was implemented.

To Prepare

  • Review the FAQ document in the Learning Resources and focus on the questions about implementing and critiquing strategies for a community needs assessment.
  • Reflect on the strategies that you prioritized in Week 4 for your community needs assessment plan.
  • Identify three strategies that you would implement first to address the social problem.
  • Consider the steps you would take to implement each strategy and the data that you would use to inform your decisions.
  • Reflect on how you would critique the strategies, both in terms of how well the strategy addresses the problem and how well it has been implemented.

  • Refine the Problem Statement. Refine your problem statement, based on what you learned from your peers, your Instructor, and/or the Learning Resources this week and in previous weeks.
  • Next Steps. Develop a plan to carry out the top three strategies for addressing the problem using what you have learned about social change, prevention, advocacy, and consultation. Be sure to address the following in your plan:
    • Identify Strategies to Address the Problem. Identify the three strategies that you would carry out. Be sure to refer to the Prioritizing Strategies worksheet that you completed earlier in the course.
    • Carry Out the Strategies. Explain the steps that you would take to carry out the top three strategies to address the problem.
    • Identify Data to Carry Out the Strategies. Explain what type of data you would need to make decisions about how to implement the strategies (e.g., data to support programs, changes in service delivery, or policy change). Give two examples.
    • Critique the Strategies. Explain how you would critique the effectiveness of the proposed strategie