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A Guide to Assessing Needs: Essential Tools for Collecting Information, Making Decisions, and Achieving Development Results


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> PDF copies of individual chapters and tools

> Purchase paper copies through the World Bank

> Flyer for the book

A Guide to Assessing Needs is made available through the World Bank's open knowledge initiative which makes a variety of essential resources for people around the world accessible for free online.


Description of the book:

The earliest decisions that lead to development projects are among the most critical in determining long-term success. This phase of project development transforms exciting ideas into project proposals, setting the stage for a variety of actions that will eventually lead (if all goes well) to desirable results. From deciding to propose a sanitation project in South Asia to selecting approaches that strengthen school management in South America, these decisions are the starting place of development. This book is your guide to having assessing needs and then making essential decisions about what to do next.


Needs assessments support this early phase of project development with proven approaches for gathering information and making justifiable decisions. Filled with practical strategies, tools, and guides, you will find that this book covers both large-scale formal needs assessments, as well as less-formal assessments that guide daily decisions. Included in the book is a blend of rigorous methods and realistic tools that can help you make informed and reasoned decisions. Use the tools featured in the book to conduct focus groups, develop surveys, prioritize needs, and lead group decision-making; developing a comprehensive, yet realistic, approach to identifying needs and selecting among alternative ways forward.

Individual Chapter and Tools:

Section 1. Needs Assessment: Frequently Asked Questions

Section 2. Needs Assessment: Steps to Success

Section 3. Needs Assessment: Tools and Techniques

Part 3A. Data Collection Tools and Techniques (all tools)
Document or Data Review
Guided Expert Reviews
Management of Focus Groups
Dual-Response Surveys
World Café™ (with “Speed Dating” Variation)
Delphi Technique
Performance Observations
Task Analysis (Hierarchical or Sequential, If-Then, and Model-Based)
Cognitive Task Analysis


Part 3B. Decision-Making Tools and Techniques (all tools)
Nominal Group Technique
Multicriteria Analysis
Tabletop Analysis
Pair-Wise Comparison
2 × 2 Matrix Decision Aids
Fishbone Diagrams
Root Cause Analysis
Fault Tree Analysis
Concept Mapping
Future Wheel
Performance Pyramid

Appendix A. Management and Implementation Guides and Checklists
A.1. Implementation Plan for a Needs Assessment
A.2. Detailed Checklist for Needs Assessment Management Activities
A.3. A Six-Week Needs Assessment Implementation Guide
A.4. Tools and Techniques to Consider
A.5. Guide to Selecting Tools and Techniques (Applied Multicriteria Analysis)
A.6. Three-Phase Needs Assessment Process with Additional Details