The Sutcliffe Group Inc. - Needs Analysis

By: The Sutcliffe Group  09-12-2011
Keywords: program evaluation

Needs Analysis

Undertaking a needs analysis is a process of identifying and evaluating needs within a community or defined population or group. Needs are defined as the gap between what is and what could be.  In contrast to program evaluation, which looks at what has been done, needs analysis focuses on the future, or what should be done. Some people use the related term “needs assessment”.  In undertaking a needs analysis for your organization, we would first identify the users and use of the report. Knowing what the report will be used for and who it will be used by, will help determine the formulation of the problem and some of the solutions. 

Next, we would describe the target population and the environment in which the program or service is to be provided. Knowing about issues such as transportation, geography, eligibility requirements, service capacity, characteristics of the target population, resources, facilities, etc. again can help the formulation of solutions.

The third step is the needs identification or problem description, where gaps between expected and actual outcomes are portrayed. We would ensure that information is gathered from more than one source, through interviews of representatives of the different groups involved, as we begin to identify possible solutions to the perceived problem.

Once problems and solutions have been identified, we would undertake a needs assessment to evaluate the proposed solutions.  By analysis of the interview data, we would seek agreement among responses on suggested directions. Based on this analysis, recommendations would be formed, encapsulated in a report. The last and perhaps most crucial step is to communicate the findings of the needs assessment to the users, decision-makers, and participants in the study. 

Keywords: program evaluation

Other products and services from The Sutcliffe Group


The Sutcliffe Group Inc. - Facilitation

Ultimately, we would help your group succeed in arriving at a decision by using a range of tools for developing information, making decisions and solving problems. Facilitation is a disciplined, results-oriented activity involving inputs at the appropriate time to help the group move to a decision. In the role of facilitator, we would at times be a resource, a teacher, a mediator, a challenger and a devil?s advocate.


Program Design

Processes are how program services are delivered, e.g., athletes are trained, coaches participate in clinics, children play in playgrounds, association members are supported, etc. Program Design A program is a system with inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes (impacts on clients/ members) -- with ongoing feedback among these parts.


Strategy Development

Strategy development translates governmental / organizational policy into goals and objectives that turn policy into practice. Our emphasis is always on the concrete and measurable.


Policy Development

Whether it?s an operational or a strategic policy, the approach we take to policy development involves research to determine the environmental situation, a clear approach to problem definition, development and analysis of policy alternatives and presentation of a recommended option. Usually, a policy has a vision with goals, strategic objectives, work plan and a program of activities, resources and leadership to achieve the recommended option.


Strategic Planning

Years), try to envision what and where you will be, see your organization?s potential beyond the day-to-day constraints and then help you create plans or roadmaps for achieving that potential. We will help your organization look forward for a specified time frame (3. This environmental scan provides useful information for planning purposes.