Community Assessment

MLA Course
Listing Archived: Wednesday, December 31, 1969

Primary contact information...
NN/LM Evaluation Office, UW Health Sciences Library
Health Sciences Library
University of Washington Box 357155
Seattle WA , 98195-7155
United States
Cynthia Olney is the primary contact.
Phone: 678-682-3864
Fax: 206.543.2469
Resource URL:
Region: All

Description: This course will help librarians and others involved in health information outreach to design quality programs and garner support for those programs by taking the right first step: collecting community and needs assessment information about the groups of people who will be involved. By the end of the course, participants should know how to collect data that will create a picture of their target community, including its needs, assets, resources, and potential obstacles that may affect the success of health information outreach efforts. Community assessment is the essential fact-finding phase of program development. You form a picture of a target community or user group in order to develop beneficial programs and services for it. But community assessment, particularly for outreach programs, can be so much more than an evaluation activity. It provides opportunities to meet leaders who provide entry into the community, initiate relationships with potential collaborators, and express your interest in the lives of the people you want to serve. In this workshop, participants will learn a four-step process for conducting community assessment that includes data collection, interpretation, and use. The relationship-building potential of each step will be discussed.

Experience Level: Beginning
Continuing Education Experience: None. this is a beginning class.
CE Contact Hours: 4
Professional Competencies: Health Sciences Information Services
Subject: Assessment/Evaluation, Consumer Health
Course Type: Face to Face

Educational Objective: At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to: • Describe a three-step process for conducting a community assessment for program development. • Identify methods for data collection and interpretation that are particularly suitable for community assessment. • Use the community assessment process to initiate key relationships within the target community • Apply community assessment findings in SWOT analysis


Introduction and Overview (30 minutes; large group discussion) 
Step One: Getting organized: writing evaluation questions (60 minutes; lecture followed by individual exercise on writing evaluation questions and large group discussion)

Step Two: Collecting data with Exercise 1: Analysis of existing data. ((Lecture, partner exercise, large group discussion)

Break (15 minutes)

Step Two- continued. Collecting information from community members with Exercise 2: Developing a local data collection plan. (45 minutes of brief lecture, partner work and large group discussion)  

Step Three: Assemble, Interpret, Act: Tools for analyzing and using community and user assessment data. (30 minutes, lecture) 

Wrap-up (15 minutes, large group discussion)

Need for This Course: The NN/LM established the Outreach Evaluation Resource Center with a goal of increasing the use of evaluation in the network to develop community-responsive outreach projects and demonstrate to partners and stakeholders that their efforts have made a difference. This workshop is one of four that have been designed to meet the OERC’s mission of providing training and consultation in evaluation of health information programs. This workshop has been designed in accordance with a trend in the field of evaluation called evaluation capacity building, which emphasizes evaluation strategies that keep program implementers and stakeholders centrally involved in the evaluation process by training them to evaluate their own programs: they learn to identify the type of data they need to make important decisions, collect data that is credible and useful to them, and learn to apply it in making important program decisions.

The instructional methods used include Lecture, Demonstration, Slides, Discussion, Case Study, and Problem-based.

Participant Materials: · PowerPoint slide handouts · Worksheets for class exercises or homework assignments . A list of resources for conducting community assessment · A copy of the OERC’s “Planning and Evaluating Health Information Outreach Projects “ booklets by Olney and Barnes (Seattle, Washington: National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Northwest Region, 2006).

Facility Requirements: The face-to-face version of this workshop requires a room with seating arrangements that will allow participants to face forward for lecture, but re-arrange chairs and tables for small group work. Instructors need a computer/projector set-up for PowerPoint slides. A flipchart, pens and tape are also needed. A connection to the Internet would be helpful. The webcast version of this workshop requires participants to have a computer with an Internet connection plus a telephone. This version includes homework assignments to be completed before the second hour and before the third hour. Because of that additional time requirement for participants, this version of the class is for 4 MLA contact hours.

Additional Evaluation: Face-to-face version: followup questionnaires sent to participants 6 months after they take the class to see how they have used the material. Webcast: similar followup questionnaires plus onscreen quizzes during each hour of the webcast. We will also email each participant a copy of the MLA CE evaluation form and will send MLA CE certificates when we receive completed evaluation forms.

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