About This Series
Publication Date: January 2010
Contents
Step 3: Collect New Data
Appendixes
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Step 5. Report Findings

After data have been collected and analyzed, report the findings to the key partners and interested stakeholders of your initiative. Listed below are the basic components of a needs assessment report. For an example of a full report, see Needs Assessment of Victim Service Providers and Trafficking Victims.

Introduction

The introduction tells your readers why you conducted the needs assessment and the main questions you attempted to answer. It also includes the roadmap for the report, which lets readers know, up front, what to expect in each section of the report.

Background and Understanding

This section lays out the foundation readers will need to understand the issue at hand. A general discussion of the issue can educate your readers on the scope and complexity of the problem. For example, you may want to discuss federal rules and regulations that have been enacted to combat a particular type of crime and the reality of working under these guidelines. You might then discuss the extent of the problem within your state and local community such as local legislation (or the lack thereof) that is in place to help combat the problem and the realities of working under these local guidelines. This discussion should lead readers to the justification for why the crime problem in your area needs to be addressed.

Methodology

The methodology section discusses the steps taken to formulate and conduct the needs assessment. In this section, describe in sufficient detail how you developed and administered your data collection protocols; how you got people to participate and who, generally, those participants were; and how you handled any problems you encountered. In addition, you might describe what documents you reviewed and how you gained access to them. This discussion should provide adequate detail so that readers will understand exactly how you conducted your needs assessment and be able to conduct similar needs assessments in their own communities.

Key Findings

After you have set the stage for the needs assessment study (e.g., main questions you attempted to answer, scope of the problem, method used to obtain data), you will discuss your key findings. This section should answer your needs assessment questions—overall, what you learned about your community so that you can improve the services you provide to victims. This section is often of utmost importance to funding institutions that need concrete information on the state of the problem in your area and information to support or justify your plans for your grant. Give special consideration to how you present the findings (e.g., bar charts, pie charts, graphs, maps) so that you capture the reader’s interest.

Recommendations

In this section, describe the lessons you have learned from your needs assessment. Here, supported with actual local data, you tell the reader what ought to be done to best assist victims. These recommendations will guide your initiative and help to develop and refine your program and its services.