The Handbook of Social Work Research Methods represents an area that we have several other publications coming out and a market we actively reach. In addition, Bruce Thyer is the editor of the journal Research in Social Work Practice and expressed interest in updating the book along with the other two candidates. In the field of social work, qualitative research is starting to gain more prominence as are mixed methods and various issues regarding race, ethnicity and gender. These changes in the field will be reflected and updated in the second edition of the handbook. It will also contain more on meta analysis, designs to evaluate treatment and will provide more support to help students harness the power of the Internet. The original mission of the handbook was to bring together leading scholars to write about research methods in social work. The second edition will stay true to this mission but will also attempt to be more student friendly and will be offered in a paperback edition. We will also make a greater effort to promote the book as a textbook, as we will do with the other two handbooks.
Needs assessments are a form of research conducted to gather information about the needs of a population or group in a community. One of the more practical types of research, needs assessments are used to develop new services or to evaluate the relevance of existing programs. They may also be used to establish a need to revise or create policy.
This chapter begins with a definition of needs assessment, how we define “needs,” and how we determine who to ask about needs. Common methodological approaches to needs assessments are described and evaluated using examples primarily from the social work literature. The benefits of triangulation, or using more than one source or ...