In this module, you will finalize the completion of the full assessment of your own community. ( Glen Burnie, Maryland)
Defining the Community
Your community should be within a specifically designated geographic location.
One must clearly delineate the following dimensions before starting the process of community assessment:
After the community has been defined, the next phase is assessment. The following items describe several resources and methods that can be used to gather and generate data. These items serve as a starting point for data collection. This is not an all-inclusive list of resources and methods that may be used when a community assessment is conducted.
The time frame for completion of the assessment may influence which methods are used. Nonetheless, these items should be reviewed to determine what information will be useful to collect about the community that is being assessed. It is not necessary to use all of these resources and methods; however, use of a variety of methods is helpful when one is exploring the needs of a community.
Data Gathering (collecting information that already exists)
Demographics of the Community
www.epodunk.com and www.city-data.com
Information from Government Agencies
Other Data Sources
After data are collected from various sources, it is important to review the information and to identify assets and areas for improvement in the community by comparing local data (if available) versus state and national data. This will facilitate organization of the information that has already been obtained and will provide direction for the next step of the process.
Data Generation (data are developed that do not already exist)
With the use of public transportation or by driving a vehicle around the community, one can observe common characteristics of the community.
Examples of key observations to make when one is assessing the community through a windshield survey include the following:
Spend time observing the population that is being assessed. Through observation of interactions among group members, much can be learned about the community, including the following:
Informants could be people who are familiar with and interact with the population on a regular basis.
Examples of questions that may be asked of key informants include the following:
Focus groups (usually small groups of 6-12 people) can be helpful when one is gathering information about specific areas of concern within the population. Use of a focus group involves open dialogue about the population, whereas an interview or survey yields only individual responses.
Surveys may be used to collect data from the community. Selecting a sample of the target population may prove helpful in the collection of data that are easier to analyze. It is important to ensure that the sample is representative of the target population.
A survey should be developed that takes into consideration the developmental level of the group that is being assessed. Questions should be written at the appropriate developmental level, so they are answered in a way that makes the data useful. Surveys might include closed-ended (yes/no), multiple choice (several responses to choose from), Likert scale (Strongly Agree/Agree/Neutral/Disagree/Strongly Disagree), or open-ended (“why”/“how”) questions.
Topics that may be addressed in a survey include the following:
Your submission should be a minimum of 2000 words (maximum 2500 words) in length and should completely answer the proposed questions as listed under “Define the community.” You should have a minimum of three (3) references.