Public Administration-Public Needs Assessment
1. Needs Assessment Community Project Comparisons
Locate at least two peer-reviewed sources other than your text that describe the public needs assessment process. Pay particular attention to their descriptions about the initial activities in the process
Using the three community public needs assessment projects you located in your study activities in this unit, you will now describe and compare them. Include in your discussion a description of each project, anything that is obvious to you about how they compare and contrast, and who is involved in each project. Based on what you have learned about these projects, are the right people involved on each Needs Assessment Committee (NAC), from both community and government perspectives? Which appears to be the most successful to you in terms of process (not outcome) and why?
2. Process Comparisons Evaluation
Using at least two additional peer-reviewed sources on public needs assessment processes that you located in the study activities for this unit, compare the initial activities each recommends. How does each manage the issue of having the right representatives at the table to work on the project? How are initial activities determined and which comes first, activities or stakeholder identification? What do you think is the best approach based on what you know today?
3. Data Gathering Methods
From the sources you have reviewed to date, including the articles on NA that you located earlier in this unit, define some methods for data gathering for the types of community problems you noted in your earlier course postings. How easy or difficult would it be to gather accurate information to support the NA process? How does this relate to ethnographic modeling requirements? What difficulties can you identify in getting consistent and reliable data?
4. Collaborative or Cooperative?
Our reading for this unit brought up the differences between collaborative structures and cooperative ones, and there are values and deficiencies of each. Building on the text, on your previous course in Community Collaboration, and on your various discussions over courses on enhancing public values, what types of structure makes the most sense to you for the kinds of public issues that interest you? Please explain your rationale and reasoning for your selection.
5. Literature for your Project
You have thought about the public sources of information about your issue, but what about the literature? Identify some peer-reviewed sources of data that influence (not support or detract—be objective!) your project for this course. You will use this in a discussion and a later assignment.
6. Databases for Prediction
You have identified peer-reviewed literature that you will seek out for your project. Now it is time to think about predictive statistics that might become useful! What types of databases would help you inform your NAC about the scope of the problem under consideration? Remember that the data itself should have some predictive value. Where would you get the database? In some cases this would be an original survey; in others, it might already exist in some form. Consider any problems inherent with the data, such as how current it is, access to a source, and how complete, valid and accurate it is.
7. Riverbend City Data Gathering Next Steps
You now know a lot more about Riverbend City’s public needs assessment project. This is an opportunity to analyze what you understand so far. You will then be determining the next steps for the project.
Include in your analysis the following:
a. Are the right people represented on the NAC? Who might be added?
b. What kinds of data gathering and modeling have been performed already?
c. What should the next steps be in the data gathering process?
You will want to consider focus groups and interviewing techniques, participants, possible access barriers to people or information, and any other aspects that you think might trip up the project. Remember, you are the consultant hired to facilitate this, so be creative!
8. Using Qualitative Data
The project that you have been planning for this course is now reaching the needs definition and prioritization phase. Qualitative data is part of what you will use to determine themes or groupings of needs, and its analysis will help with the process of prioritization.
Explain the types of qualitative data you plan to gather and its purpose to inform and support decision-making in this government-influenced public problem. Describe themes you might expect to see and how they will contribute to methods of prioritization. Note any missing qualitative data pieces that might be critical to making a good public needs assessment prioritization decision in your proposed case example.
9. Using Quantitative Data
The project that you have been planning for this course is now reaching the needs definition and prioritization phase. Quantitative data sets are statistics typically represented as objective numbers used to quantify the scope of a problem or the potential societal change as a result of a solution.
Explain the types of quantitative (objective numerical) data you plan to gather and its purpose to inform and support decision-making in this government-influenced public problem. Describe areas of the problem they might measure and how they will contribute to methods of prioritization. Note any missing quantitative data sets that might be critical to making a good public needs assessment prioritization decision in your proposed case example.
10. Riverbend’s Analysis Issues
You have viewed the presentation on Riverbend City’s NAC members analyzing some of the data and cleaning it up for use in the prioritization. Some of the members have very different perspectives on what the data means and whether some is supportive of certain needs! Everyone has their own perspective, areas of expertise and interests. Reliability and validity also play a role in the outcome!
Select one member of the NAC and develop the strategy they should use to make sure the data they are supporting is as accurate and useful as possible. Provide examples of what makes their data effective and informative for the needs prioritization process. Write a script defending and explaining the data use to other NAC members. Remember to use the ‘voices’ of other committee members to ask your selected member questions to carry the discussion along!
11. Prioritization Methods for Selected Project
Different methods of needs prioritization lend themselves to different types of problems and differing sources of data. In some cases, one type of data is robust and applicable while others are not. Using your text and the methods of prioritization you located in the discussion preparation for this unit, describe how you would plan to prioritize the needs in the project you are planning in this course. Provide a rationale and justification for the approach you would select and compare it to at least two other methods. Explain your reasoning in your method selection. In some cases you might even want to use two methods for equally good reasons, so include that in your analysis!
12. Change Management Strategies
Based on the text and on the sources you located in the discussion preparation earlier in this unit, analyze the differences and similarities in making change happen from the perspectives of the individual, organization, and society. What role should government play in planning for change management based on the type of decision made and who it affects? What does this mean for public sector solutions to society’s problems, either the big hairy ones or the small?
13. Action Plan for Your Project
You have been planning your needs assessment project for quite a few weeks now, and you undoubtedly have some feel for how you believe the problem you selected will be solved! Using your project example, draft an action plan using one of the examples of style from the text. Remember that you will need to identify the action to be taken, the purpose of that action including who or what it is meant to change, the time frame in which it needs to occur, materials and directions, and the areas where it applies in your project. You will use this in an assignment later in the course, so paying attention to the feedback you receive from your instructor and peers will be important in making future revisions!
14. Comparing Methods of Evaluation
Using the Riverbend City examples, assess the validity and accuracy of the evaluation methods proposed, based on the priorities, in measuring what really needs to be measured. Consider aspects of interpersonal conflict represented by the characters and what this means for the use of the data and evaluation methods.
Once you have assessed Riverbend, analyze what means of evaluation you could use for the major items in your proposed project and why you would select them. This portion of the discussion will become part of your final project for the course, so paying close attention to instructor and peer feedback will help you to strengthen your work.
15. Conflict Management and Resolution
In the Riverbend City case study, you have observed a number of personal conflicts influencing the progress of the NAC. You have probably seen a few interpersonal conflicts in your work life as well! Using the peer-reviewed sources you identified in the unit’s study activities, define at least three interpersonal conflict situations and methods that can be used to overcome those conflicts. Remember to consider the perspective of all parties to the conflict as you develop your solutions!
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