Education Division Scholarship

Alternate models of needs assessment: Selecting the right one for your organization

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2000


Needs assessment seems intuitively attractive to planners. Virtually all authors recommend that needs assessment be the first step in any organizational or human resource development intervention. Planners sensibly recognize the importance of building a foundation grounded in data-based needs, and see data produced by needs assessment as justifying organizational planning and accountability. They also see the usefulness of needs assessments for obtaining and allocating resources for projects. In their best use, needs assessments ensure that resources (Inputs) and methods (Processes) deliver useful results, that their value-added can be demonstrated. Unfortunately, the wide and varied usage of the term need often spurs heated discussions that can hinder the usefulness of so-called needs assessments. Unfortunately, just about any approach to finding direction gets called needs assessment, thus leaving in question what the technique really includes and what it can do and deliver.


Volume 11, Issue 1, pages 87–93, Spring 2000

Publication Title

Human Resource Development Quarterly