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Bridging the Gap Between Asset/Capacity Building and Needs Assessment

Bridging the Gap Between Asset/Capacity Building and Needs Assessment
Concepts and Practical Applications

First Edition

Other Titles in:
Education | Social Work Practice

January 2014 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
In this groundbreaking text, the author examines the synthesis of two antithetical ideas—needs assessment and asset/capacity building. At the heart of this approach is a focus on assessing the strengths and assets that communities have and demonstrating how to make those assets stronger. The author explains the foundation of needs assessment and asset/capacity building, discusses their similarities and differences, and offers a new hybrid framework that includes eight steps for how they can be done jointly for better results. The author then applies a checklist for judging the quality of this approach to six cases that represent real-world applications of hybrid principles. The last chapter demonstrates how such efforts might be studied in the future, emphasizing ways findings and results from hybrid ventures can be used effectively. A wide range of examples, tables, and figures appear throughout, with insightful discussion questions at the end of each chapter to facilitate meaningful discourse.
1. Beginnings
2. Synthesis of Needs Assessment and Asset/Capacity Building
3. Looking Closely at the First Three Critical Steps of the Framework
4. Step 4 in the Hybrid Framework
5. Steps 5-8: Completing the Hybrid Process
6. A Checklist for the Hybrid Framework
7. Cases Exhibiting Hybrid Framework Characteristics: Examples From Public Health
8. Cases From Other Fields
9. Research and Utilization


Companion Site

The open-access Companion Website includes the following:

  • Interesting and relevant additional readings provide a jumping-off point for course assignments, papers, research, group work, and class discussion.
  • Lively and stimulating ideas for activities to reinforce active learning. 

“There is great tension between the two camps – and if this book can bring the two together to a certain extent it will be a valuable tool.”

Paul Komarek
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

“Building capacity is an important concept to develop in areas like Emergency/Disaster Planning and Community Relations. In addition to its scholarly value, it could be useful for practitioners too.”

Kenneth Goldberg
National University

“The material reflects a strengths-based model that is among the best-practices currently available.”

Judith Birgen
Chicago State University

“Combining two approaches that are complementary in many ways…novel idea, have not seen this proposed before.”

Brian P. Leung, PhD
Loyola Marymount University

“…Highlights the value of both Needs Assessment (NA) and Assets Based Community Development (ABCD), moving beyond “either/or” thinking about the knowledge and skills that are needed to bring about community change.”

Barbara Soniat
National Catholic School of Social Service at Catholic University of America

“It provides a very good step-by-step approach to identifying community challenges and assets/capacities and how to develop plans to address them. Realistic and practical.”

Kenneth Goldberg
National University

“The virtue of this text is that it is specific, sequenced, and offers a number of examples useful to students who find the content somewhat novel.  For social work, students can bring this kind of text into the practicum environment and employ it as a road map for working with community members in completing projects.  So, the text lends itself to project-based, problem-focused, and/or action learning. This is an asset. “

David P. Moxley
University of Oklahoma Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work

“I have seen nothing as thorough as this work. No one else synthesizes the material the way the author has done. I enjoyed the continuum from cooperation to collaboration and found the needs and assets discussions to be useful.”

Judith Birgen
Chicago State University

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 2

Chapter 5

James W. Altschuld

James W. Altschuld, PhD, is Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University where he taught program evaluation, needs assessment, and research methods. He has published and presented extensively in the field of evaluation particularly with regard to how needs are assessed.  More About Author

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ISBN: 9781452220192