Knowledge Bank

Needs Analysis

November 30, -0001, Evaluation Observatory

A need is commonly understood as a gap between “what is” and “what should be”. A need analysis is a systematic method of collecting and analysing data to determine the needs of an affected population against an agreed standard with respect to their current situation. A needs analysis also involves an examination of the causes, so as to set the right priorities - real and practical solutions – for the future.

List of recommended resources:

For a broad overview

  • Published by the US Department of Education, this resource provides a comprehensive overview of the foundational concepts in needs assessments using flow charts. It answers - What is a needs assessment? What steps are involved in conducting a needs assessment? What aspects of a needs assessment are important to its success?

  • Developed by WHO, this resource highlights the importance of needs assessment in humanitarian settings with a particular focus on assessing health needs. It gives an overview of its definitions, types, responsibilities, the steps involved in needs assessment, and the tools.


  • The Video resource developed by the National University of Singapore illustrates needs assessment through the example of a differently abled student.

For in depth understanding

  • Developed and Published by World Bank, this resource provides an indepth introduction of conducting a Needs Assessment. It includes FAQs, steps to conduct a successful needs assessment successfully alongside providing practitioners with tools, techniques and management and implementation guides and checklists.

Case Study

  • Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership has developed this resource guide providing an overview of health needs assessment, focusing on need assessment approaches and processes relevant to the Family Health Team (FHT) practice, which are formalized groups of primary care providers, wherein physicians deliver care in concert with other health care professionals such as nurses, dietitians, patient educators, social workers etc.

  • Developed by WHO, this workbook intends to educate programme staff on the evaluation of services for the treatment of psychoactive substance use disorders. It answers the ‘What’, ‘Why and ‘How’ to do a Needs Assessment, and contains case studies on outpatient care for drugdependent patients in Barcelona (Spain) (p. 29), and Needs assessment to determine the service needs in the Eastern Transvaal, Republic of South Africa (p. 42).

Humanitarian Needs


  • From the World Bank, this visual resource provides practitioners with conceptual understanding and tools required to conduct a needs assessment.

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