Chapter 2: Conducting a Community Needs Assessment: Part 1



hello PennDOT community traffic safety partners thank you for joining us for this video which is being produced for you by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Center for Injury Research and Prevention in this video chapter 2 we'll talk about the first three steps of conducting a community needs assessment which is an integral part to beginning the program planning process we'll talk about step 1 analyzing the problem step 2 defining your objectives and behaviors and step 3 formulating your needs assessment questions will also present you with two worksheets that we've prepared for you in your resource book which can help guide you in your community needs assessment let's start at the beginning what does it need and how does this differ from a community needs assessment well it need is simply something that specifically relates to a particular group or community that you want to work with but a community needs assessment provides you with a procedure to help you better understand the issues that are faced by your community in other words in a community needs assessment we seek to identify analyze and prioritize the needs of a particular population which they expressed to us rather than us going in and determining what we think their needs might be so in order to do this we have to collect data from the community members to help understand their problems and concerns and we use the results from these data to help guide our future actions so again rather than deciding ourselves what we think our community needs we do a community needs assessment so that our community can express their needs to us so when we're thinking about the first step analyzing a problem we're ultimately looking to address five quick key questions in this step the first is simply what is the problem in this community and why does it exist the second who or what is causing this problem and for whom in the community is that a problem specifically there is a good chance that it might be a problem for only a sub part of the community or maybe a particular population that might help you identify who you're going to target in your a programer intervention the next question we want to be able to ask is when did it first occur or become significant and to what extent is it occurring so how important is this problem to the community number four what is currently being done to resolve those needs if anything is it effective is it working and other adequate resources available to help solve this problem and lastly can the problem be solved in a reasonable amount of time this of course is very important to us as we think about wanting to have quick turnaround to help with problems within a community but at the same time recognizing that we do have restrictions and priorities and different procedures that we have to follow so in order to do step one it's really better to just break it down by asking yourself three key questions first number one what are you trying to accomplish with your program generally what do you want to do number two how much time do you have to gather your needs data now this question is very important because when you get to the next video where we talk about the different methods for collecting these data part of what factors into choosing a really good method for you is how much time you have to communicate I'm sorry how much time you have to gather the information and then ultimately how much time you have to communicate that back to your stakeholders to start making changes and lastly what groups of people are you targeting so your community means assessment begins by asking yourself these three questions so take the step back before you go any further and give yourself a little bit of an activity break to prepare to conduct your needs assessment just jot down what do you want to learn who do you want to hear from and how do you think you that you might want to hear from them in other words what methods may be used to gather input so do you think that it would be helpful to turn to a national database of key information and statistics that are related to your target audience perhaps you might want to conduct a survey or do interviews one-on-one or a focus group which allows you to touch base with more people at one time or perhaps even just use a Delfy panel which refers to using community leaders to get the information you want for your needs assessment so take a step back and ask yourself who do you have access to what kind of information do you think you want to get what is it that you learn you're going to learn more about how to create your needs assessment assessment objectives and what methods you can use later on this worksheet might help you to prepare to conduct your community needs assessment so when you take this activity break use this worksheet to help you you can find it in your resource book okay so let's talk about step two step two is about defining your objectives in other words what do you want to learn about your community that's related to traffic safety these should be what we call high level objectives because we want these to be objectives that can be analyzed with quantitative and qualitative data here are some examples maybe you want to determine the number of teams that are injured in distracted driving crashes and factors that contribute to those crashes perhaps you want to determine the number of teams who do or do not receive formal driver's education and how it impacts crash rates or perhaps you might want to assess their attitudes toward current driver safety programs that are offered in schools that focus on distracted driving those are examples of some of the types of objectives that you might want to consider for community needs assessment the second part of that is to clearly define the behavior so who does what behavior and under what circumstance so here are some examples for distracted driving if you think about for distracted driving you're the behavior could be any activity that can divert a person's attention away from the task of driving and how do you had an hone in on that further well you might want to ask yourself questions like this so what are the advantages of abstaining from distracted driving what are the disadvantages what can make it easier or more difficult to do this who wants the driver to be distracted or what is it that's distracting them who doesn't want the driver to be distracted and how important are these distractions to the driver and how important are the individuals who are motivating them to be distracted or to avoid distractions how important are they to the drivers the next step is to formulate your needs its assessment questions so what questions do you need answer to help you develop the best possible program for your community population here are some examples you might want to ask things like how frequently does this problem occur for them how many people are being affected what amount of time for what amount of time are they being affected how severe is the problem how important does this target group perceive the problem to be how important is this problem perceived to be by others who are not in your target group how likely is it that we can solve where at least significantly improve the problem that work that we're seeking to solve here and along with that here is an example of how this might work so if your high level objective is to determine the number of teens that are injured and distracted driving crashes and the factors that contribute to their crashes then here are some questions that help might help guide your needs assessment so how many drivers are in your community what are the total crash injury and fatality rates among these teen drivers of the total crashes how many crashes are due to distracted driving etc etc so you get the idea here we want to create assessments that are going to help us meet up with our objective what does this look like well here's an example of how we would pull it all together so in your resource book you have a worksheet which is blank for you but here's an example of how we might do this if we were doing a community needs assessment and the problem we decided we wanted to address was that teens in our community or at risk for crashes that are caused by distracted driving then our objective would be to determine the number of teens injured in distracted driving crashes and factors that contribute to crashes now there could be a number of objectives this just happens to be one of the objectives that we might want to pursue so a behavior that we might want to consider looking into for that is what makes it more difficult for teens to avoid distracted driving behaviors in the first place and therefore we start thinking about what kinds of questions will be asked to get to these objectives and behaviors so for example how many teen drivers are in our community what are the total crash and fatality rates of those how many are due to distracted driving how many and what kind of traffic safety programs are currently available to teen drivers and how many of them focus on distracted driving how many teens are reached by traffic safety programs that are focused on distracted driving as you can see all of these questions relate back to our behavior to our objective and to our problem so it's your turn start thinking about steps 1 2 or 3 for your needs assessment use this worksheet which is available to you in your resource book to help you do that you've just completed chapter 2 conducting a community needs assessment part 1 in the program planning section of your materials and the next chapter we'll talk about part 2 which is the last step which focuses on the methods that we can use to gather the quantitative and qualitative information from our community to help us figure out what their problems are and to help us target what behaviors you want to solve thank you for watching

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