Needs Assessment (NA) Topical Interest Group (TIG) of the American Evaluation Association

The NA TIG is defined around the application and theory of needs assessment techniques in a variety of evaluation settings. The TIG coordinates its efforts through AEA and is particularly active in the annual conference. To become involved, you must first be a member of AEA and may join up to 5 Topical Interest Groups.  If you are interested in joining the Needs Assessment TIG contact AEA or send an e-mail to the Chair or Co-chair at the links above on the TIG Leadership tab

Activities and Resources

AEA Conference and Needs Assessment Sessions.  Get in touch with our leadership to share your interest in:

NeedsAssessment.org is run by one of our members and provides a comprehensive set of NA resources including links to books, articles, an NA experts version of Chat, among other things.


AEA365 Needs Assessment posts.  Check out our posts over the years.  If you are not receiving AEA365 posts, sign up here.

NeedsAssessment Listserv.  You can post questions, share articles, and find experts by posting to this mailing list.

LinkedIn Needs Assessment Group.  Request to join.

About Needs Assessment

Needs assessment can be described as...

  • A process for identifying the knowledge and skills necessary for achieving organizational goals (Brinkerhof & Gill, 1994)
  • A process for pinpointing reasons for gaps in performance or a method for identifying new and future performance (Gupta, Sleezer, & Russ-Eft, 2006)
  • A method of finding out the nature and extent of performance problems and how they can be solved (Molenda, Pershing, & Reigeluth, 1996)
  • The process for pinpointing reasons for gaps in performance or a method for identifying new and future performance needs (Gupta, 1999), or...
  • A systematic approach with defined series of phases that gathers data by means of established procedures and methods for a specific purpose (Witken & Altschuld, 1995).

Needs assessments (NA) are based on a rich body of literature, often comparing and contrasting needs assessment to other evaluation approaches and methods. The NA TIG is an active group of professionals that both study and apply needs assessment theories and models in a variety of settings -- from health care to economics. For additional information on NA, visit NeedsAssessment.org, a comprehensive resource site on the topic.

AEA365 Needs Assessment Posts

Most years, members of the NA TIG contributed essays to AEA 365. Each essay offers a unique perspective on needs assessment and is linked below:

AEA365: Jim Altschuld on Tips for Asset-based Thinking when Doing Needs Assessments
AEA365: Ryan Watkins on Needs Assessment: Making Recommendations
AEA365: Ingrid Guerra-Lopez on Design-Oriented Needs Assessment: Transitioning from Problem Definition to Solution Design
AEA365: Hsin-Ling (Sonya) Hung on Key Ingredients for a Simple Needs Assessment Recipe
AEA365: Maurya West Meiers on Identifying and Staying in Touch with Your Needs Assessment Stakeholders and Informants
AEA365: Ryan Watkins on Planning to Measure Needs
AEA365: Sue Hamann on Tips for Novice Needs Assessors
AEA365: Hsin-Ling (Sonya) Hung on Needs Assessment and Decision-making
AEA365: James Altschuld on Hybrid Vigor – It’s not just Needs Assessment or Asset/Capacity Building
AEA365: Lisle Hites on Conducting a Needs Assessment on HIV/AIDS Issues in the South
AEA365: Roger Kaufman on Needs Assessment
AEA365: Overcoming Five Obstacles to a Successful Needs Assessment 
AEA365: Including Intended Service Recipients in Needs Assessment and Program Planning
AEA365: Planning and Managing Your Needs Assessment
AEA365: Lessons Learned: Use the 3 Phase Model
AEA365: Five Must Read Articles on Needs Assessment