A Guide to Assessing Needs

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A Guide to Assessing Needs is an essential resource for anyone who conducts needs assessments. A solid discussion of methods and where they are best applied in the needs assessment process provides foundational knowledge for practitioners. Further, very important contributions to the field are made through closely linking assessments to an organizational performance perspective while at the same time offering numerous examples and illustrations of how it is utilized in international settings and contexts.

A Guide to Assessing Needs

M

aking informed and justifiable decisions is the essential beginning to any successful development project. However, critical steps must be taken to help ensure that the decisions made will achieve the desired results. These steps rely on systematic processes and tools—collectively known as “needs assessment”—that help decision makers resist the temptation to select solutions before results have been clearly identified and defined.

A Guide to Assessing Needs is intended to be a user’s guide for the ill-defined “front end” of development projects that starts with an initial concept and ends with a decision about the best path forward. From deciding to propose a sanitation project in South Asia to selecting approaches that strengthen school management in South America, decisions are the starting place of development. Filled with practical strategies, tools, and guides, this book covers not only large-scale formal needs assessments but also smaller, less-formal assessments that can guide daily decisions. It will be of particular interest to development practitioners.

James Altschuld, author of the Needs Assessment Kit, Professor Emeritus from the Ohio State University

Michael Bamberger, co-author of RealWorld Evaluation: Working under Budget, Time, Data and Political Constraints and How to Design and Implement Equity-Focused Evaluations

ISBN 978-0-8213-8868-6

SKU 18868

Watkins • West Meiers • Visser

A Guide to Assessing Needs offers a much broader perspective than many texts on project management or evaluation. It presents needs assessment within a results framework that applies to international development projects equally as well as to a variety of other contexts. An exceptionally wide range of data collection and decision-making tools are presented, along with descriptions of the purpose and rationale for each tool, its strengths and weaknesses, the process through which it is implemented, and tips for success. The book is a user-friendly reference manual, offering information for selecting among the diverse approaches to achieve results. The authors bring together tools and techniques from diverse disciplines so that even experienced professionals are likely to find many new approaches for collecting information and guiding decisions.

A Guide to

Assessing
Needs
Essential Tools for Collecting
Information, Making Decisions,
and Achieving Development Results
Ryan Watkins, Maurya West Meiers,
Yusra Laila Visser

A Guide to

Assessing
Needs

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A Guide to

Assessing
Needs

Essential Tools for Collecting
Information, Making Decisions,
and Achieving Development Results
Ryan Watkins
Maurya West Meiers
Yusra Laila Visser

00--FM--i-xvi.indd 3

12/14/11 9:05 AM

© 2012 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / International Development Association or
The World Bank
1818 H Street NW
Washington DC 20433
Telephone: 202-473-1000
Internet: www.worldbank.org
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This volume is a product of the staff of The World Bank with external contributions. The findings, interpretations, and conclusions expressed in this volume do not necessarily reflect the views of The World Bank, its Board of Executive Directors, or the governments they represent.

The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy of the data included in this work. The...
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