When completing a needs assessment, Extension professionals should include both objective county data and stakeholder input data. Specifically, Extension professionals should identify potential areas of need, source available objective data, source data from relevant county stakeholders, and analyze similarities and differences in objective and stakeholder data. Needs assessments should be conducted in this manner to confirm the needs of a county; address risk of data skewed by subjective stakeholder opinion, particularly in small counties; and identify areas of greatest need. This method has been shown to be effective through implementation in a target rural county.
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Swinton, J. J., Killian, T., & Wray, P. (2020). Importance of Adding Objective Data to Stakeholder Data in Needs Assessments. The Journal of Extension, 58(3), Article 1. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol58/iss3/1