Processes for Community Change
Analyzing Community Problems
Solving the various problems of society and communities throughout the world is not an easy task. Suggestions have been made in earlier chapters that education can be used to facilitate finding some of the solutions. Community education has been described as a process by which the problems of people are made central to the design of education. Activation of the educative community is an attempt to help people learn how to live more satisfying lives. Yet, this cannot be accomplished without first analyzing community problems and needs, studying a community to determine its strengths and weaknesses, analyzing the community's power structure and decision-making processes, and then developing appropriate educational and community programs to meet needs or provide solutions to problems.
This chapter will discuss various strategies, processes, and models for problem-solving available to educators, change agents, and community leaders. Whether administered by an educational institution or some other agency, successful community change through education requires systematic analysis and planning. The processes used successfully in one community might not transfer directly to another community. Thus, each community needs to choose one or more approaches that apply appropriately to any particular situation.
There are many requirements to be met in effective problem-solving and analysis at the community level. One of the first requirements is a coordinated effort among individuals, organizations, and agencies. Chapter Five has dealt with the topic of coordination, but the need for cooperation and coordination cannot be over stressed.
Another requirement is to make better use of already existing skills and talents. Professional educators, planning specialists, and governmental officials are only some of the people in each community who have skills and experiences in decision-making and problem-solving. These people should take the lead in analyzing various problems and planning corresponding programs directed toward providing solutions.
A related requirement is to determine the nature of any problems discovered or known by various community leaders or citizens. Such actions provide a good opportunity to involve local citizens in community and educational programs. Individual residents and various groups, such as the PTA or Home and School Association, service organizations, and public agencies, can be involved through study groups, discussion clubs, community study efforts, power structure analyses, and advisory council participation. Later sections in this chapter describe community study techniques, power structure analysis, and advisory councils in greater detail.
Study groups, discussion clubs, or block clubs generally are made up of community residents who make recommendations to agencies and organizations administering community educational and change-related programs. However, to determine the relationship between various problems and needs of the total community, people that represent all ages, socio-economic strata, and ethnic groups should be involved in any study activities.
Following are typical community problems or questions that groups and individuals study:
1. How to activate the educative community -- What resources are available? Who should be involved? What should it cost?
2. How to initiate a community education program -- What additional costs would be required? What programs are needed and what could be added?
3. How to relate occupational needs with training -- For what are youth and adults currently being trained? What are the training requirements for various jobs? Can people be encouraged to undertake the training necessary for various jobs? How can efforts be coordinated among various educational agencies or groups, such as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), community colleges, continuing education associations, public schools, and vocational-technical schools?
4. How to meet the many needs of adults living in an environment of change -- What family life and human relationship skills are needed? Are there adult literacy needs that should become the bases for educational endeavors? Can existing adult and continuing education programs meet the various needs? What will it cost for the continuing education of adults?
Another requirement in community problem-solving that usually follows the study of particular problems is developing programs to meet various needs that will be discovered. The local citizen can be involved at this point, too, through advisory roles, by assisting with the implementation of programs, and by providing feedback to program planners and agency administrators as to whether or not their needs are being met. The next section expands on the use of various community residents in carrying out educational or change programs.
A final requirement concerns further developing the community problem-solving skills of community residents and leaders. This can be accomplished two basic ways. One is to provide various opportunities for parents and other residents to gain experience in problem analysis and program planning. Schools, for example, can do this through parent groups, advisory councils, community consultants, and faculty committees. An institution of higher education could use advisory groups consisting of various community leaders or members to provide suggestions and recommendations on a wide variety of activities.
Another way to develop these skills is for organizations or governmental agencies within communities to establish courses or formal training experiences related to problem-solving. Some communities, as another example, currently provide regular leader training sessions through educational organizations or other community agencies for a large variety of volunteer workers. Many such communities have a volunteer center, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and/or community-wide volunteer organization. Such skills eventually become useful for meeting a variety of community needs. Some of these institutions and the people who are trained in some of the skills described above will even be called on to facilitate various community change programs.
Strategies for Achieving Change
The achievement of change in communities through education may require efforts by various people or organizations. In essence, no single approach is likely to accomplish all of the goals and objectives associated with planning for change. Consequently, it often is necessary to employ a variety of strategies in planning and implementing programs for educational or community change.
There are many different strategies, tactics, or approaches that can be utilized. Not all of them can be discussed in a book of this nature. Only four will be described in this section; Rothman, Erlich, and Teresa's (1976) planning manual on community change and several other sources cited at the conclusion of the chapter contain additional information on strategies and approaches.
One strategy for achieving change is to learn who are the primary community influentials or leaders, to understand how they affect or control the decision-making process, and to establish an acquaintance or friendship with them. Individuals and groups who propose or plan programs of community change need to involve or consult such influential persons at various stages of the planning process. If such involvement is not facilitated, then the program planner always runs the risk of program blockage or failure.
An example might be an Extension worker studying the influentials who can affect a particular neighborhood in which new programs are targeted. Learning how to identify the community's influentials, knowing whom to consult or involve in establishing new programs, and understanding the dynamics of any decision-making operating in a particular neighborhood usually increases the effectiveness of attempts to achieve changes. The next section provides more detail on how to design and carry out a power structure analysis.
Another strategy is to identify with and utilize existing groups and organizations that will support community change attempts. Sometimes referred to as intervention or planned change, this approach involves the coordination of two or more groups in a program of change. A professional planner or expert is frequently utilized to promote this cooperation.
An illustration would be the community college, city recreation department, and public schools cooperating on a campaign to win wide-spread community support for a new public swimming facility. The costs, administrative arrangements, and usage planning would be shared by all three organizations. A public relations or planning expert might be hired or an educational employee from one of the organizations temporarily released from some other duty to coordinate the campaign.
A third strategy sometimes employed to achieve a change is to affiliate with an organization whose function can include directing or guiding change programs. These organizations often perform a change-agent role, where their employees are skilled at the means utilized to achieve various changes or goals. Change agents have been referred to as catalysts, enablers, or stimulators, and they possess skills in human relations, problem diagnosis, and adapting various resources to achieve a program's goals.
For example, a public school administrator could ask a county Cooperative Extension agent to develop and coordinate a program which involves inner city youth in some after-school programs. The Extension worker, in turn, develops a program that utilizes volunteer parents and other citizens as leaders and teachers. The result is not only new programs and opportunities for the targeted youth, but also parents and others trained in some new skills.
A final strategy is to form committees or groups around particular content areas or particular needs. This involves an agency or organization possessing various physical and organizational resources cooperating with groups possessing special skills or accessibility to particular clientele. Such a strategy can be especially useful in providing education to meet unique minority-group needs.
For example, a community center director in a neighborhood containing mainly Spanish or Asian speaking individuals could form a neighborhood support group of parents, leaders, and other residents interested in English language instruction. The public schools could provide various building, instructional material, and other needed resources. A nearby university could direct a tutorial program for those adults and youth who need the help. The result is children who progress easier in the school system, parents involved in their children's activities, and many adults who may themselves become more interested in such instruction.
The above approaches are some of those available for people and organizations interested in achieving various types of community change through education. Each might be successful or might not be feasible, depending on the community and the people involved. A successful application of any strategy will be facilitated by a thorough knowledge of the community and by utilizing inputs from community residents.
Knowing and Using the Community
No single educator can know and understand all that needs to be known about a community. Consequently, to gain more complete understanding of a community, some means of acquiring information must be employed. This section describes three of these: Power structure analysis techniques, community study methods, and community council inputs. Additional methods for acquiring information and understanding the dynamics of particular communities are suggested in various chapter references.
Power Structure Analysis
An important value in studying and understanding power at the community, sub-community, or organizational level is that support for most action programs frequently must come from key leaders. Such leaders often exercise their power to affect the outcome of various programming decisions. These leaders, frequently referred to as power actors or influentials, may not always become actively involved in implementing a program; however, an effective educator, administrator, or change agent should know who are the power brokers and how they might influence any particular planning effort.
For example, the author spent several years as a County Extension Agent in a rural Iowa county. There an effort was made to start 4-H youth clubs within the county seat, a community of about 10,000 people. Careful program planning was undertaken, volunteer leaders from the county were recruited and trained, and the initial recruitment and orientation meeting was publicized via several means. However, not a single interested child or parent showed up for the meeting when 100 or more had been expected.
Later analysis showed that several key influentials had decided that 4-H was for rural youth, whereas church groups, scouts, and the YMCA were for city youth. Several key individuals had quietly and behind the scenes circulated among administrators of these organizations and the public school. Consequently, word was spread among youth and parents urging them not to attend the orientation meeting. It is believed that a better understanding of power, including even involvement of some key power actors with the planning and recruiting efforts, would have yielded more positive results or, at least, would have prompted a decision to delay initiating town clubs.
As Tait, Bokemeier, and Bohlen (1976) point out, there actually are several roles power actors can play in either supporting or blocking various community programs:
1. Give sanction, authority, justification or license to act or carry out a variety of actions.
2. Suggest ideas or provide recommendations for improving a particular program.
3. Provide a variety of resources necessary for implementing or completing a program.
4. Provide access to a host of other resources within or outside the community.
5. Promote a program at various levels within an organization, some sub-community, or the larger community.
6. Block certain program actions by withdrawing or withholding support.
7. Prevent a program from continuing, completing, or even emerging through "behind the scenes" actions.
Thus, it becomes important to not only know who are the key influentials, but also how their support can be obtained or any potential lack of support considered in the planning effort.
Therefore, an important role for any educational change agent is determining who are a community's power actors so that appropriate communication linkages can be built, involvement strategies designed, and alternative plans developed. There are four basic methods available for the identification of such power actors (Tait, Bokemeier, & Bohlen, 1976). Each is described briefly below. Appendix 6-A details each method's procedure, advantages, and limitations. In addition, research has shown that who the power actors are will change over time. Consequently, any one method may need to be repeated periodically so that such changes can be determined.
1. Positional Method -- This method identifies individuals who occupy key authority positions, usually formal roles, in the major organizations, groups, and/or strata within a community (or organization). An important assumption foundational to this method is that power and decision making ability rest in those individuals who reside in the important positions of a community's formal organizations.
2. Reputational Method -- This procedure involves the selection of knowledgeable community citizens who, in turn, will be able to provide names of top community power actors according to believed reputations for social power. The method is based on a premise that reputations of individuals' potential for affecting community decisions are an index of the distribution of influence and that such reputations are slow to change.
3. Decision-Making Method -- This technique involves tracing the history of decision-making activity surrounding a particular issue area. Power influentials are those who can be identified as the main participants in any activity. A basic assumption for this method is that social power to influence decisions within a community can be measured by a person's actual participation in various problem-solving or decision-making activities.
4. Social Participation Method -- This method involves the creation of lists of formal leadership position holders in a variety of voluntary associations. For this method it is assumed that social participation, active membership, and the holding of office or some leadership role is an important prerequisite to the accumulation and display of community influence.
In reality, each method may identify different power actors and leaders within a community. At times, the overlap of individuals determined by the various methods will be fairly small. The positional method yields institutional leaders, office holders, and highly visible leaders; the reputational technique results in an identification of reputed leaders, generalized leaders, and frequently, non-visible leaders; the decision-making method can delineate both generalized and specialized activists; and the social participation method often identifies primarily "doers," those in the public eye, and voluntary association leaders. Thus, it may be necessary for the educational change agent to employ more that one technique to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the community's leadership.
Studying the Community
Solution of community problems by the efforts of one individual or even one agency is largely a thing of the past. Most problems affect all people of a community in some way and therefore require the involvement of many for their solution. Pollution bothers the young and the old. Unemployment is critical for females and males. Homelessness can happen to anyone who is living near the poverty level or who experiences a series of unfortunate setbacks. Discrimination of any minority group usually leads to community tension, discord and conflict. A lack of education affects those in the inner city as well as those living in suburbs or rural areas.
There are several dimensions of a community that can be studied in trying to understand such problems. The following dimensions (adapted from Blackwell's 1953 paradigm) are suggested as those most useful in understanding a community and its needs:
1. Educational needs -- The nature of both perceived and demonstrated gaps in ability to solve various problems, both individual and group. The goal is to provide an assessment of potential involvement in various educational programs. This also could include obtaining some understanding of available educational opportunities or resources and how they might match with determined needs.
2. Population factors -- The percentage of people in various age and other groupings, educational backgrounds of people, and extent of mobility in and out of the community. The goal is to provide an analysis of existing human resources.
3. Institutional structure -- The various existing groups, organizations, and agencies, their membership makeup, and their organizational purposes. The goal is to analyze the extent and complexity of social relationships. This also could involve examining the range of potential institutional support for various future programs.
4. Value system -- The hospitality, relationship between people, security, traditions, and beliefs. The goal is to determine the values and attitudes toward education and other areas.
5. Social class structure -- The identifiable structure of people according to income, race, religion, or educational background. The goal is to assess potential participation by various population groups in certain educational and community programs and to analyze the informal or social relationships between people.
6. Economic structure -- The range of incomes, problems of inadequate incomes, concentration of economic leadership, and general use of the community. The goal is to analyze the decision-making process, potential support for educational and community programs, and functioning of people within the community.
Assessing the above paradigm's first dimension, the various needs of a community and its residents, is an important prelude to solving problems. For example, if educators are going to coordinate the planning and implementation of various community-wide education programs, they must have some means of acquiring information on needs and preferences. Some information on categorizing needs already has been displayed in Chapter Four. Appendix 6-B provides some suggestions on various techniques that can be used for collecting information both for needs assessment and program evaluation purposes. In addition, the selected bibliography cites several sources that contain information on assessing needs.
Knowles (1980 - cited in Appendix 6-B) and several other sources cited in both this chapter and Chapter Four, provide some useful suggestions for designing and carrying out community needs assessment activities. Basically, any needs assessment effort begins with a commitment to utilize any obtained information for subsequent program planning efforts, identification of key people to be involved (this could include some power actors), and determination of appropriate data collection techniques, such as one or more of those described in Appendix 6-B.
Once data are obtained the analysis involves such activities as ranking or prioritizing findings, putting the needs information through what Knowles (1980) calls a variety of "filters" (such as institutional priorities, local requirements, and resource availability), and translating the corresponding results into program goals, actions, and even evaluation plans.
In addition to information gathered through some sort of needs assessment activity, there are numerous, social, educational, and economic indices available to the educational program planner. Such indices, usually obtainable through available reports or publications, can provide crucial insight into particular community problems or potential problems. Appendix 6-C lists several such indices.
The community survey has become a popular means for studying a community and acquiring information for decision-making and program-planning. For example, a survey can be used to gather information for most dimensions of the Blackwell paradigm described earlier. It also can be used to assess a community's physical and human resources, or to indicate the attitudes of people regarding their educational concerns. A survey might even be utilized to determine the nature of horizontal and vertical relationships as a basis for assessing future educational program support.
A community survey first involves determining those agencies or groups appropriate to collect the data. This might include a community council, various interested agencies, or a professional group with surveying skills. Another important step is to identify the various groups, institutions, and people to be examined, depending on the survey's purpose and extent. Finding or developing various information-collecting instruments or determining exactly what questions to ask is an important part of the survey process. Several chapter references provide discussion or examples of various questionnaires, check lists, survey items, and survey construction techniques.
Collection of information through a community survey is only the beginning. The information will need to be processed, analyzed, and interpreted. Interpreted information then becomes the basis for planning and implementing various programs. The anticipated end result is information that becomes vital for sound decision-making and a solution of community problems. Appendix 6-D outlines a suggested format for displaying the results of a community survey and other information obtained through various means. The resulting report then becomes a basis for communicating both needs and resulting program plans to various groups.
Another mechanism for facilitating community change efforts is the community council. There are four primary reasons why a community or advisory council might be formed. One is that a community or some agency has some change effort to be undertaken or particular problem to be solved and the involvement of various community residents is sought. Another reason is that frequently problems are too large for any one organization to handle alone and the utilization of various resources is required for finding solutions. A third reason is the desire of educators to obtain advice and information from various community representatives in order to plan and implement resulting programs that will meet a majority of needs. A fourth reason relates to regular and formal advice that an agency desires or sometimes by law requires.
The varied uses of councils can be illustrated by what takes place in most communities where there is an active Cooperative Extension Service. A county agent in charge of the 4-H youth program, for example, typically sets up one or more advisory committees or councils as a way of obtaining regular information and assistance on educational programs and needs. An advisory committee will not automatically guarantee a successful Extension program but without it the lines of communication between various organizations and the community are limited.
As another illustration, most community education programs form councils as a means for obtaining advice, help in assessing needs, and assistance in operating various of the community education programs. Such councils, typically made up of representatives from a wide spectrum of community views, can operate at the neighborhood school level or even at a total community level depending on the school size.
Community councils can be formed in various ways. In some instances a council is entirely voluntary, with the change agent asking certain individuals to join and other members become involved simply because they want to help or are interested in the organization. Some councils are made up of people selected or appointed because they represent a certain organization or special interest area. Still other advisory groups are formed through some elected means. Many Extension advisory councils, for example, consist entirely of elected individuals, each of whom represents a single township or geographic unit. Finally, some advisory groups are made up of certain elected individuals, others who have been appointed, and others who have volunteered.
A typical community council size ranges from 12 to 20 members. Community can be defined broadly (the total community) or quite specifically in some instances (a community of Extension clientele and supporters). Usually, citizens from all age groups, all types of organizations, and all walks of life are included to provide a broad representation of community interests and opinions.
The functions of a community council can be many. They can range from strictly advisory to decision-making. An important role for every council is to provide a line of communication between local citizens and their needs and the people administering community and educational programs. For example, the author serves on the local RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) advisory council. The Program's director uses the council as one important source of the information required to plan programs and as a means for communication back to potential volunteers and agencies served by volunteers. Another function is actual problem-solving where the council divides into small work groups for certain tasks or individual council members provide the leadership for various events or activities. The council also provides recommendations for solving various problems encountered by the Program during each year.
Councils often function as advisory bodies in the development of educational policy. For example, one community council in Michigan studied the educational needs of older and retired citizens for several months. They eventually recommended the following: (a) the community college should offer several courses to senior citizens in retirement homes or in senior citizen centers; (b) the community's educational institutions should eliminate all course and program fees for every person retired or over sixty-five; and (c) local businesses and industries should institute a continuous and regular pre-retirement training program for employees fifty years of age or older.
A final function of councils to be described here is that of assisting in the evaluation of educational programs. Evaluation can be in terms of assessing whether a program or course is achieving its objectives or whether it is actually meeting some community need. A council can even isolate a particular problem, such as those of high school dropouts or the unemployed, and assess whether educational programs exist to solve them and whether existing program are successful.
There are various ways of increasing a council's level of contribution to a community or agency. To begin with, council members should receive appropriate orientation upon joining. Members can also be trained in various skill areas that relate to their functions such as needs assessment, evaluation, and communications. Another example is to provide council members feedback on the services they are performing to promote a feeling of confidence that their efforts are useful. In whatever ways council are used, trained, or supported, they provide a potential means to bring education and the community closer together.
Models of Community Change
Assessing community needs, analyzing power structures, understanding more about a community, and utilizing advisory councils are only the beginning of planning and implementing change programs directed at specific problems. Various phases of the planning process must be recognized and carried out. The purpose of this section is to describe various community change models, identify those phases common to most models, and suggest a planning model that is applicable to most communities.
Figure 6-1 displays the phases or stages of several community change models. Although each author's description of what takes place during each stage is somewhat unique, there are actually many similarities between the models. The bibliographic citation for each author provides a detailed discussion of the various models.
Figure 6-1. Some Models of Community Change*
Biddle & Biddle (1965)
1. Exploratory Process; 2. Organizational Process; 3. Discussion Process;
4. Action; 5. New Projects or Continue
1. Develop Organizational Structure; 2. Establish Priorities & Desired
Outcomes; 3. Identify Resources & Support; 4. Design Instructional
Planning; 5. Implement Plan of Action; 6. Develop Appropriate
1. Assessment of Need; 2. Objectives Developed; 3. Commitment to Proceed;
4. Program Planning; 5. Program Implementation; 6. Evaluation, Feedback, and
Lippitt, Watson, & Westley (1958)
1. Client Discovers Need for Help; 2. Helping Relationship is Defined;
3. Change is Identified & Clarified; 4. Efforts are Attempted; 5. Change Becomes
Stabilized; 6. Helping Relationship Ends
1. Idea Takes Root; 2. Plan Actions Based on Facts; 3. Launch Program Planning;
4. Move Program Forward; 5. Summarize
1. Initial Environment; 2. Inception of the Action; 3. Expansion of the Action;
4. Operation of the Action; 5. Transformation of the Action
*Adapted from original sources by the authors. See the selected bibliography at the end of this or prior chapters.
What are the similarities and commonalities between various models of community change? A first phase usually involves an analysis of any special situation leading up to or causing a particular problem. This phase is exploratory, where people's needs are assessed, the commonality of interests is analyzed, all philosophical underpinnings or values of involved people and organizations are determined, a level of commitment to proceed by significant power actors is assessed, and the initial problems are defined or described. Information obtained in a power structure analysis and community study can be quite helpful during this phase. Finally, a decision to continue or end the process can be made at the conclusion of this phase.
The second phase typically includes initial efforts to organize and plan for problem solution. Establishment of program goals, objectives, and priorities is usually accomplished during this phase. Any development of educational programs often involves stating objectives written in terms of change in human behavior and based, in part or wholly, on needs determined in the first phase. As with the first phase, assessment of community support and organizational commitment can be carried out, as well as deciding to end the efforts or continue forward. This might even include obtaining some form of legitimation from the community's influential citizens or leaders and from any existing advisory councils. It often involves obtaining financial and organizational sponsorship.
The next phase involves an analysis of any general commitment within and outside the organization to proceed with the planning effort or change program. Community legitimation, the level of sponsorship, and general clarification of goals, needs, and problem areas are some actions that take place. Unfortunately, too often this step is overlooked and a program will later flounder because necessary support is lacking.
The fourth phase includes organizing and planning a program of change. The community study or survey information and a community council's input could provide some assessment of resources available to carry out the program. The overall plan, a time schedule, and a description of required physical and human resources are usually included; they normally are based on the goals, objective, and priorities established earlier. A go or stop decision also can be made at the conclusion of this phase.
The fifth phase common to many models is the actual implementation of any change program. If prior phases have been completed carefully, success of this phase will be greatly facilitated. It is important to note that a great deal of time and effort needs to be invested before program implementation can successfully take place and, unfortunately, such advance work frequently is overlooked.
The next phase, and an important one, is that of evaluation. Evaluation is essential in determining to what extent the change program actually met the need or solved the problem for which it was designed. It should be noted that the above description is primarily directed at summative, or end of the program, evaluation. Formative or process evaluation actually takes place throughout all phases. Several sources cited for this chapter contain more information on program evaluation.
The final phase also may involve what has been dubbed in systems analysis terminology "feedback." Feedback is the utilization of information obtained from all evaluation efforts to make improvements in both the planning process and the actual program implementation efforts. There also may be a need to provide such information to the community in some manner. This phase frequently involves some decision-making about whether the change program should be continued or redone.
It is suggested that the six phases described above common to most planning models can be used by many communities and educational organizations in designing their own programs of change. The various phases will not fit exactly the planning needs of each community or agency interested in some sort of change effort. Presenting the information in a series of linearly described steps also does not depict well the dynamics of program planning when at times some steps must take place before others or even must be repeated.
It is also important to note again that such on-going activities as assessing the commitment of various people to proceed and making decisions whether to continue or stop the process must be addressed in successful program planning. The information presented above, therefore, is primarily a guide to planning attempts. Adaptations and additions often may be required. The phases do not always follow the suggested sequence and some phases may not be required, depending on the unique needs of a particular community or agency (see Appendix 6-E for some questions that should be asked about various phases). However, the failure of most community programs and activities can be traced to one or more of the phases not receiving enough consideration.
This chapter has only briefly introduced the multitude of information related to processes of community change. In addition, it has indicated that successful planning of programs for community change requires a wealth of community information, the utilization of various strategies and techniques, and a systematic design of processes to be attempted. Obviously, personal planning style and preferences, concepts like "goal-free" planning and evaluation, and "floating designs" will impact on any planning process. Finally, it is suggested that developing a close relationship between the educational system and community for purposes of solving various kinds of problems makes imperative the understanding and utilization of change theory and methodology.
Advisory/Community Council -- A group of individuals formed together to provide advice, support, and other kinds of help as dictated by the agency and/or by law.
Change Agent -- Persons or agency representatives who instigate purposeful social action.
Community Change (also known as social action, social change, or community action) -- A relatively formal, deliberate, organized, and short-term attempt to promote some type of change in a community and/or its residents.
Community Influentials (also known as key leaders, power actors, or legitimizers) -- Individuals who play a major role in community decision-making. These people can and do influence changes made in a community.
Intervention or Planned Change -- The development of specific strategies for achieving certain change objectives. This often involves a person with professional planning skills being supported by some community agency in promoting a change attempt.
1. Determine if any agency or group has carried out a recent study of your community. The Chamber of Commerce, county or municipal planning agency, utility company, or local library would be useful agencies with which to begin. If such a study or studies were carried out, how was the resulting information utilized?
2. What are some reasons it might be important for your organization or agency to carry out an analysis of the key influentials (power brokers) in your community?
3. Using one or more of the described techniques, carry out a power structure analysis of some community, sub-community, or organization. Check the reliability of your results by interviewing a person named as a power actor.
4. The reputational method has some unique reasons why it may be more powerful in some respects than other power structure analysis techniques. What are they? What are the method's important limitations?
5. How would you go about designing and carrying out an assessment of educational need in your community? How could the resulting information be used?
6. How would you go about designing, carrying out, and reporting a community survey? How could the resulting information be used?
7. Interview the chair or a member of some community or agency advisory committee. Determine what are the committee's procedures for recruitment, orientation, training, and involving members.
8. Using a social action or program planning model described in Figure 6-1 or other planning models with which you are familiar as bases for comparison, develop your own model or sequence of steps that represent personal preferences or your agency's expectations relative to planning. Appendix 6-E provides several questions to aid you in your model-building efforts.
Alinsky, S. D. (1946). Reveille for radicals. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 228 pages. Considered an important advocate for the poor, the author presents his philosophy, principles, and tactics for social change. He discusses what he means by radicalism and the role it needs to play in alleviating social, economic, and political plight. He also describes the building of a people's organization. Included is information on indigenous community leadership, how to understand the community, and how to use community knowledge in promoting social change.
Alinsky, S. D. (1971). Rules for radicals. New York: Random House. 196 pages. A continuation of the Alinsky style and philosophy, this book describes the work of an organizer. A number of anecdotes are included throughout the book.
American Library Association. (1960). Studying the community. Washington, DC: American Library Association. 128 pages. Appendices. This book describes how to carry out a community survey. It discusses the roles of various people, sources of information, techniques for collecting information, and processes for interpreting information. The appendices contain a variety of sample questionnaires and survey guides.
Baumel, C. P., Hobbs, D. J., & Powers, R. C. (1964). The community survey (Soc. 16). Ames, IA: Iowa State University, Cooperative Extension Service. 65 pages. Appendix. This publication describes methods of community surveying to gather information useful in decision-making. It discusses how to organize for a community survey, how to develop information-collecting devices and how to collect, tabulate, and interpret the information. Especially useful are several sample community survey questions.
Beal, G. M. (1966). Social action and interaction in program planning. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press. 510 pages. Index. Bibliography. The objective of this book is to analyze the process of introducing and applying an experimental approach in educational program planning. Several planning principles are included.
Bennis, W. G., Benne, K. D., Chen, R., & Corey, K. E. (Eds.). (1976). The planning of change (3rd Edition). New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 517 pages. Index. This is a book of readings reflecting the theory, research, and practical application of behavioral science knowledge as it applies to change. Discussion and evaluation of the body of change technologies, change agents, and planned change are included.
Blackwell, G. W. (1953). The needs of the community as a determinant of evening colleges. Proceedings of the 1953 Meeting of the Association of University Evening Colleges. 22 pages. Provides a description of a paradigm for studying the community. Several community study dimensions are included.
Boyle, P. G. (1981). Planning better programs. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. 224 pages. Index. This book develops 15 concepts essential to the effective development and evaluation of continuing education programs. Included are such topics as determining community program needs, working with advisory committees, establishing objectives, and communicating the value of a program to the public.
Briscoe, C., & Thomas, D. N. (Eds.). (1977). Community work: Learning and supervision. London: Allen & Unwin, Ltd. 190 pages. Index. The book contains 12 chapters on a variety of topics. Although the book has an "international" flavor, some useful chapters on preparing people for community work are presented. The various skills needed for community work are discussed.
Caffarella, R. S. (1988). Program development and evaluation resource book for trainers. New York: John Wiley & Sons. 266 pages. References. Index. The author has developed a practical manual for program planners and evaluators. She includes chapters on such topics as planning models, analyzing needs, determining priorities, identifying objectives, formulating evaluation plans, and communicating results to the public.
Carter, E., & Doble, C. (1990). Ways of looking at the community: Toward developing design guidelines. Small Town, 20(5), 16-21. Examines how rapid economic development and population growth affect the environment of small towns and rural areas. Provides a design framework for regulating land use development.
Darling, D. L., & Sisk, E. J. (1990). Answering the "how" question in community development. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 328 386). 10 pages. This document describes three methods of community action planning.
Fitz-Gibson, C. T., & Morris, L. L. (1978). How to design a program evaluation. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. 164 pages. Index. The book introduces the reader to evaluation design, including a discussion of both summative and formative evaluation. Eight chapters cover such topics as types of evaluation design, analysis techniques, and randomizing techniques.
Hand, S. E. (1968). An outline of a community survey for program planning in adult education (Bulletin No. 71f-2, revised). Tallahassee, FL: Florida State Department of Education. 45 pages. This bulletin delineates the kinds of information about a community that would be helpful in planning adult education programs, such as a community's history, economic structure, and sources of information. Also discussed is the issue of participation in organized community programs as a way of solving problems.
Havelock, R. G., & Havelock, M. C. (1973). Training for change agents. Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan. 249 pages. Index. Bibliography. Appendix. This book is intended for use by people working with change programs and those who train change agents. The first major part presents a framework for designing change-related training programs. The second part presents some alternative models for training. Goals for training, knowledge about the change process, and principles of training designs are among the topics covered.
Hiemstra, R. (1976). Program planning and evaluation. In S. Goodman (Ed.), Handbook on contemporary education. New York: Bowker Company. This chapter presents a six phase program planning model. A literature review also is presented on each of the six phases.
Hoiberg, O. G. (1955). Exploring the small community. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. 199 pages. Index. This book was written primarily to assist those interested in studying small, rural communities. It covers a wide range of topics, including understanding and studying the small community, planning community activities, and developing community leaders. The second part, which deals with understanding various agencies, organizations, or problem topics in the small community, will be especially useful.
Houle, C. O. (1978). The design of education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 323 pages. Glossary. Bibliographic essay. Name index. Subject index. The author describes various case examples related to designing program. Included, too, are several categories of educational situations and the development of a program design.
Journal of Community Action. Published bimonthly by the Center for Responsive Governance, Washington, DC. Articles are published on such topics as neighborhood groups, community organizing, and community economic development.
Journal of the Community Development Society. Published twice a year by the society. Provides a variety of articles related to community development.
Kahn, S. (1970). How people get power. New York: McGraw-Hill. 128 pages. Suggested reading. The author describes how to study a community as a prelude to working in it. Considerable discussion on power actors, self help, and working with different organizations is provided.
Kochen, M., & Donohue, J. C. (Eds.). (1976). Information for the community. Chicago: American Library Association. 282 pages. Index. Resource Guide. Seventeen chapters are provided. They cover a variety of topics on how to find and utilize information on a community.
Lippitt, R., Watson, J., & Westley, B. (1958). The dynamics of planned change. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. 210 pages. Index. Bibliography. The authors present a series of chapters designed to prepare a change agent for the task of instituting planned change programs. They center their discussion on such topics as diagnosing community relationships, motivating people toward change, understanding various phases of planned change, and training professional change agents.
Luther, V., & Wall, M. (1989). 7 secrets to coping with change in small towns. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 325 294). 15 pages. This little booklet for educators involved with community development. Describes the importance of understanding the attitudes and behaviors of community leaders.
McMahon, E. E. (1970). Needs--of people and their communities--and the adult educator. Washington, DC: Adult Education Association of the USA. 50 pages. Bibliography. This booklet is designed as a text for community workers. It suggests how needs of people can be assessed and how to utilize the acquired information in program planning. An important part of the booklet is an extensive annotated bibliography of many articles and books related to needs assessment and program planning.
Mathieu, D. J. (1990). Community education as radical pedagogy. Community Education Journal, 17(4), 26-28. This article discusses the radical nature of community education by comparing it to Paulo Freire's methods. He believes that practitioners and theorists must recapture community education's radical nature.
Morris, L. L., & Fitz-Gibbon, C. T. (1978). Evaluator's handbook. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. 133 pages. Master Index. This book describes the contents of a larger series of which this is a part. Step-by-step guides for carrying out evaluations are included. This easy to read book utilizes considerable visuals pertain to designing an evaluation effort.
Nadler, L. (1982). Designing training programs: The critical events model. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing. 252 pages. Index. The author describes the value of using models for thinking about program design. He then presents chapters on several design issues, such as identifying needs, evaluation, objectives, curriculum building, and obtaining instructional resources.
Powers, R. C. (1965). Identifying the community power structure (North Central Regional Extension Publication No. NCRS-5, Leadership Series No. 2, Soc. 18). Ames, IA: Iowa State University, Cooperative Extension Service. 11 pages. Selected Bibliography. This bulletin draws upon the research and experience of a sociologist in presenting a technique for identification of key influentials or power figures in a community. It also provides some discussion of the role community power figures play in decision-making.
Rothman J. (1974). Planning and organizing for social change. New York: Columbia University Press. 628 pages. Index of names. Index of subjects. Appendices. This mammoth volume presents information on change agents, social change, working in the community, diffusion, and adoption.
Rothman, J., Erlich, J. L., & Teresa, J. G. (1976). Promoting innovation and change in organizations and community. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 309 pages. Index. Appendices. The authors provide a variety of help on promoting community change and participation. The appendices are especially helpful in providing guidelines for action.
San Diego Center for Community Education. (1975). A guide for community school advisory councils. San Diego, CA: Superintendent of Schools, Department of Education. 58 pages. Appendix. A helpful guide for establishing and operating a community council.
Sork, T. J. (Ed.). (1991). Mistakes made and lessons learned: Overcoming obstacles to successful program planning (New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, No. 49). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 98 pages. Index. The editor has pulled together eight authors who have developed eight chapters on such topics as successful programs, responding to success and failure, and tools for planning better programs.
Strother, G. B., & Klus, J. B. (1982). Administration of continuing education. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing. 304 pages. Index. The book contains several chapters useful when thinking about community change, such as assessing needs, program planning, program promotion, and program evaluation.
Stubblefield, H. W. (Ed.). (1981). Continuing education for community leadership (New Directions for Continuing Education, No. 11). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 128 pages. Index. The authors have compiled a periodical containing 13 chapters. Community education, community development, citizen involvement, community resource centers, and special chapters on serving Southern Blacks and involving women in community change are some of the topics covered.
Tait, J. L., Bokemeier, J., & Bohlen, J. M. (1976). Identifying the community power actors: A guide for change agents (North Central Regional Extension Publication 59). Ames, IA: Iowa State University Cooperative Extension Publications. 32 pages. Appendix. This little booklet is loaded with information for the person interested in community programs. Four power structure analysis techniques, positional, reputational, decision-making, and social participation, are presented, described, and evaluated.
Warren, R. L. (1965). Studying your community. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. 285 pages. Index. This book is presented as a manual for people interested in studying their own community. The chapters provide a factual basis for communities and suggest organizational, planning, and action programs that can be applied to the community. A discussion of the American community, its various institutions, and carrying out community surveys are some of the topics covered.
Power Structure Analysis Methodologies
This appendix is adapted from the community power actor identification guide developed by Tait, Bokemeier, and Bohlen (1976).
1. Delineate the relevant positions within the community that are important to your organizational goals and potential educational programs, such as elected officials, appointed leaders, financial leaders, and agency directors.
2. Establish some inclusion criteria that match your organization's needs, such as the number of people from any one agency, minimal size of the organization to be covered, and geographic location of the organization.
3. Collect the names, addresses, phone numbers, and any other information for all individuals occupying the delineated positions and meeting the inclusion criteria.
4. Review, enlarge, change, and update the list periodically (at least annually is the usual recommendation).
1. Those community power actors who are quite visible are easily identifiable.
2. The cost involved in identifying such power brokers usually is fairly minimal.
3. Knowledge of the amount of authority and responsibility vested in an individual by virtue of a position provides some insight into that incumbent's potential for support or blockage of any subsequent activity.
4. The maintenance of extensive lists covering various agencies, organizations, and strata provides a good cross-section of community leadership.
1. It is difficult to determine which positions do or do not hold sufficient power to affect your change efforts.
2. Some positional power holders do not exercise their leadership potential.
3. The technique typically does not identify leaders who operate behind the scenes.
1. Define one or more issues or areas of concern to you or your organization.
2. Delineate the specific geographic area in which a study of these issues will be focussed (community, neighborhood, county, etc.).
3. Select a half dozen or more "knowledgeable," individuals likely to be able and willing to identify power actors, for interviewing.
4. Develop an interview schedule which contains questions or statements pertaining to the areas of concern, such as the following:
- Would you tell me the names of the most influential leaders in the community affecting (the area of concern)?
- To whom would you turn in the community if you wanted a group of individuals whose decisions on (the area of concern) would be accepted by most people?
- Rank the top five individuals, those most influential, who you believe could make a proposed project on (the area of concern) go, or if they desired, could stop the project.
5. Develop an approach for and carry out the interview process with all the selected knowledgeables.
6. Determine some inclusion criteria, such as the number of times an individual is mentioned, the accumulated rankings, etc.
7. Summarize and analyze the interview data using the inclusion criteria to build a power actor pool.
8. Check the list's reliability by going to two or three of the people named most frequently, asking them to serve as a knowledgeable, and repeating steps 6 and 7.
1. The method typically identifies a wide scope of community leaders, including those who are not always visible.
2. The interview schedule can be designed to elicit some responses on leaders for any specific area or areas of concern desired by the change agent.
3. The method is relatively easy to administer, relatively reliable, and not very expensive.
1. The knowledgeables selected may not necessarily be knowledgeable of all relevant leaders.
2. The reputed community leaders may not always exercise power to affect decisions pertaining to your area of concern.
3. The method may sometimes elicit only generalized leaders but not specialized power actors who may exercise considerable power on certain areas.
1. Select several community-based decisions made within the past several years. Those selected should be representative of or likely to be related to your areas of concern. If necessary, interview knowledgeables to obtain the list of decisions.
2. Study the identified decision areas and develop a list of decision makers involved in various stages of planning and implementing relevant actions. Utilize such study techniques as interviewing participants in the related activities, reviewing related documents, studying newspaper accounts, and attending any related on-going meetings.
3. Create some inclusion criteria for the final power actor pool, such as the number of times a person is mentioned in documents, who is described in newspaper accounts, and voting records in public meetings.
4. Develop a list of leaders to be included pertaining to specific decision and issues areas.
5. Review and update the list as new issue areas develop and community decisions are made.
1. The actual possession and use of leadership skills (not just the reputation for leadership), personal resources, and continued commitment can be determined.
2. Generalized power actors can be determined by comparing the overlap of power from one issue to another.
3. Specialized power holders who affect only a particular kind of area also can be determined if several different issue areas are compared.
4. The specific roles preferred within a whole planning and implementation process can be determined.
1. The method is fairly time consuming and expensive.
2. Those leaders acting "behind the scenes" to affect a particular area of concern will not be identified.
Social Participation Method
1. Select several "key" community voluntary organizations, including those having relevancy to your particular organization and/or areas of concern.
2. Obtain a list from each pertaining to their members, leaders, and committee rosters.
3. Compare the lists across organizations for overlap in membership and leadership.
4. Develop a list of the power actors according to membership and leadership participation criteria that you design, such as the number of times listed, number of different offices held, etc.
5. Update the list on a periodic and regular basis.
1. The technique identifies those influentials who are active in community activities.
2. Because voluntary leadership often is a stepping stone for elected, appointed, or other routes to key leadership roles, the method frequently can be used to identify younger or new community leaders.
3. The method frequently identifies individuals who will be willing to be involved in action steps of community programs.
1. The procedure is time consuming and quite expensive.
2. Only those power brokers who are active in community affairs will be identified; those behind the scenes power wielders will not be determined.
3. Leadership as shown on committee rosters may not be a true index of all power potential or involvement.
4. The technique may not necessarily identify individuals who will affect decisions on key community issues.
5. The specific areas of concern with which people of power may be interested in becoming involved may still not be known.
Data Collection Techniques
I -- Individual level; N -- Primarily useful for needs Assessment; G -- Group level; E -- Primarily useful for evaluation; O -- Organizational level; C -- Community level
Mailed Questionnaire (N,E)
A mailed survey form used to obtain a broad analysis of some social phenomenon or problem (I/G/0).
1. For reaching a wide geographic distribution of people.
2. For reaching a relatively homogeneous, fairly well-educated group.
3. For understanding some current situations, attitudes, and/or interests.
4. To determine factual material.
5. For making a survey of employee needs, problems, or interests.
1. Delphi Technique.
2. Q-sort or card sort.
3. Picture sort.
1. The reliability of the results can be quite low at times.
2. The rate of return is frequently quite low.
3. Any open-ended responses or added comments may be difficult to interpret.
Byrn, D. (Ed.). (1973). Evaluation extension. Topeka, KS: Ives Publications.
Oppenheim, A. M. (1966). Questionnaire design and attitude measurement. New York: Basic Books.
Sudman, S., & Bradburn, N. M. (1983). Asking questions: A practical guide to questionnaire design. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Also see the Delbecq citation under the nominal group technique.
Checklist/Diagnostic Form (N,E)
Forms given to respondents individually or in groups where answers are checked on a list of statements (I/G).
1. For groups of people in a meeting.
2. For individuals randomly selected from a group meeting who will complete them at home.
3. To collect evidence of progress made or practices adopted.
4. To assess a perception of individual need or interest on a topic.
A group discussion of diagnostic form results can be carried out for purposes of further clarification, building consensus, determining new needs, and providing input for further program planning.
1. Can be difficult to interpret.
2. Difficult to obtain a good list of names.
Knowles, M. S. (1980). The modern practice of adult education (2nd Edition). Chicago: Follet Publishing Company.
Also see several of the annotated sources in the selected bibliography.
Interest or Attitude Inventory (N)
A device for finding out in what participants or potential participants are interested (I/G).
1. Study of continuing education interests and interest areas.
2. Study of attitudes toward learning.
3. Study of attitudes on a particular subject.
Community Survey (N)
An analysis of various aspects of behavior and social interaction within a given community (C).
1. To examine intergroup relations.
2. To study the physical aspects of communities.
3. To obtain an historical perspective relative to a community.
4. To examine population mobility.
5. To examine technological changes.
6. To examine changes in status and values.
1. Can be combined with a larger community study effort.
2. Public opinion surveys or polls.
See several annotated sources in the selected bibliography that contain information on community surveys and community studies.
Personal Interview (N,E)
The collection of data through direct verbal interaction between individuals, usually formal in nature - the data collection takes place face to face or via a phone (I/G).
1. For obtaining specific facts and opinions.
2. To measure attitudes and interests.
3. For an understanding of current situations.
4. When a high percentage of participation is needed.
Bingham, W. V. D., & Moore, B. V. (1959). How to interview (4th Edition). New York: Harper & Row.
Bradburn, N. M., & Sudman, S. (1979). Interview method and questionnaire design: Response effects to threatening questions in survey research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass publishers.
Cannel, C. F., Marquis, K. H., & Laurent, A. (1977). A summary of studies of interviewing methodology (Vital and health statistics, series 2, No. 69). Rockville, MD: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.
Hyman, H. (1970). Interviewing in social research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Team Interview (N)
Collection of data through direct verbal interaction between two interviewers (can be more) and (usually) one respondent (I).
1. When time is a factor.
2. When interviewing individuals with high intelligence, much experience, and/or with an extensive educational background.
3. In exploratory studies.
Informal Interview (N,E)
An unstructured and unstandardized method of obtaining answers to various questions and gaining information on various topics (I/G).
1. In beginning discussion on a topic.
2. For small group discussion.
3. For gathering qualitative information.
4. In obtaining insight on a problem or program's progress.
A probing interview with prompt sheets or cue cards combines both the informal and the more structured interview format.
Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (1982). Qualitative research for education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, Inc.
Merriam, S. B., & Simpson, E. L. (1984). A guide to research for educators and trainers of adults. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing.
Tough, A. (1979). Adults' learning projects. Austin, TX: Learning concepts.
Telephone Survey or Interview (N,E)
A method of collecting information quickly and relatively inexpensively (I/G).
1. Where good rapport with respondents has been or can be established.
2. For gathering factual information.
3. For gathering opinions, suggestions, and ideas.
4. For obtaining information about feelings and attitudes.
Systematic or Structured Devices
Critical Incidents Technique (N)
An interview with a supervisor, judge, or someone knowledgeable about an individual to determine specific behavior patterns that are considered critical to the skills or areas of behavior being studied; sometimes referred to as job analysis or task analysis (I).
1. In studies of leadership ability.
2. For determining qualifications of individuals for certain jobs or duties.
3. In studies of individual behavior or on the job behavior.
4. In efforts to examine education or training need in relation to job performance.
The critical incidents technique also can be used as a research tool or to provide feedback to an individual. For example, the technique has been used to determine critical teaching incidents or to provide a mirror for the improvement of instruction.
Argyris, C., Putnam, R., & Smith, D. L. (1990). Action science. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Brookfield, S. D. (1989). Developing critical thinkers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Merriam, S. B. (1991). Case study research in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Rigors, P. (1971). Case methods in human relations: The incident process. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Ryan, D. G. (1960). Characteristics of teachers. Washington, DC: American Council on Education.
Advisory Council Input (N,E)
Can be intuitive, experiential, or data bases (see the discussion of advisory councils earlier in this chapter) (C/O).
1. To obtain advice, insight, or factual information from a group of people knowledgeable about an area of organization.
2. To evaluate ongoing or completed educational programs.
3. Public hearings.
4. Town meetings.
5. Neighborhood meeting or block organizations/clubs.
Panel Survey (N,E)
The interview and study of a selected sample of respondents at two different times: Panels are picked and know of the task ahead of when the data are actually collected (C/O).
1. To study changes in behavior.
2. To study changes in feelings and attitudes.
3. To study needs and interests.
4. To evaluate programs or materials.
A survey form also could be mailed out before and after some experience; however, the results may not have the reliability and validity of an actual interview.
1. If panel members drop out between the two contact times the results can be affected.
2. A low return rate on any mailed out forms will affect the results.
Test, Diagnostic Tools, Pretests (N,E)
Group or individual completion of a device designed to test or measure some aspect of behavior or knowledge (I/G).
1. To determine needs through an assessment of deficiencies.
2. To measure performance/status on some task, attribute, or attitude.
A group discussion of test results can be carried out for purposes of further clarification, building consensus, or elaboration.
1. There are potential problems with validity, standardization, and measurement.
2. Frequently, this technique will need to be combined with other techniques.
Hopkins, K. D., & Stanley, J. C. (1981). Educational and psychological measurement and evaluation (6th Edition). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.
Tuckman, B. W. (1978). Conducting educational research (2nd Edition). New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Inc.
Systematic Study of Available Records (N)
An analysis of available records on a particular subject or need area (I/C).
1. When an interview or questionnaire procedure is impossible.
2. For information on the past.
3. For use in a historical study of needs.
4. When a case study technique is desired.
An analysis of census records to determine demographic changes, the concentration of specific characteristics (such as people with lower levels of education by census tract), and the changing work force.
Supervisory Ratings (N,E)
Ratings of an individual made by someone in a supervisory capacity (also known as job analysis performance appraisal, performance review, supervisory) (I/C/O).
1. To analyze individual behavior, performance, and training need.
2. To determine where performance gaps can be interpreted as educational need.
Mager, R., & Piper, P. (1970). Analyzing performance problems. Belmont, CA: Fearon Publishers.
Also see the references cited for the critical incidents technique.
Content Analysis (N,E)
The objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication on a particular subject wither directly or indirectly (I/G).
1. For the analysis of propaganda.
2. To examine the treatment of a particular subject in books, media, etc.
3. For the analysis of readability of various materials.
4. For the development of need or objective statements.
5. In historical studies.
Holsti, O. R. (1968). Content analysis. In B. Lindsey & E. Aronson (Eds). The handbook of social psychology (2nd Edition). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Kerlinger, F. N. (1973). Foundations of behavioral research (2nd. Edition). New York: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.
Anecdotal Records (N,E)
Observations and descriptions of behaviors deemed typical of an individual (also known as skill inventories or task analysis records) (I).
1. To study human behavior.
2. To determine individual performance problems.
Peer Evaluating (N,E)
The evaluation of behavior by an individual's peers (usually voluntary); this technique initially was used for evaluation purposes but now is used in business and industry as a feedback device for ascertaining employee training needs (also known as peer review) (I/G).
1. To assess some aspect of human behavior.
2. To evaluate a person's job performance
1. The technique requires trained observers with considerable skill and sensitivity.
2. Peers may not always report/perceive information accurately.
American Medical Association. Peer review manual. New York: American Medical Association, 1971.
Power Structure Analysis (N)
A determination of the manner in which individual power actors in a social system relate to each other (although this is not a standard needs assessment technique, it provides useful information to better understand needs, program planning strategies, blocking groups, etc.--also known as community leader analysis) (C).
1. For community analysis efforts.
2. To understand formal organization leadership.
3. To assess leadership skills and experience.
See several sources on assessing power cited in the bibliography, especially Tait, Bokemeier, & Bohlen (1975).
Gaming or Group Interaction Devices
Gaming and Stimulation Device (N,E)
Role playing facilitated by some sort of a gaming board or tool; needs either personal observation or self-evaluation tied to it (I/G).
1. To determine the participant's knowledge about some topic.
2. To facilitate interest in or practice with some topic.
Horn, R., & Cleaves, A. (Eds.). (1980). The guide to simulation/games for education and training (4th Edition). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.
Simulation and Games. An international journal of theory development and research. Published quarterly by Sage Publications of Beverly Hills, CA.
Team or Group Problem Solving (N)
The attempt to solve a particular problem through team action (also known as task force analysis) (I/G).
1. In studies of human interaction within group activities.
2. In studies of work groups.
3. When a group facilitator can be employed to assist with assessment efforts.
Drucker, P. F. (1974). Management. New York: Harper & Row.
Group (usually small) members spontaneously generate a wide variety of ideas, interests, etc.; clarifying and follow-up techniques also are typically required (I/G).
1. Where quick responses are desired.
2. When some initial ideas or categories of needs are required.
1. Responses obtained quickly or spontaneously may not always reflect reality.
2. Some people may not desire to participate in a brainstorming activity.
Clark, C. H. (1958). Brainstorming. New York: Doubleday.
Clark, C. H. (1980). Idea management. New York: Amacon.
Nominal Groups (N)
Group decision making where all suggestions are recorded and ranked (I/G).
1. When contributions need to be encouraged.
2. When synergistic results from group involvement or commitment are desired.
Delbecq, A. (1975). Group techniques for program planning: A guide to nominal group and delphi process. Glenview, IL: Scott Foresman Company.
Consultants or Outside Experts (N,E)
A professional helper's advice (usually tied to assessing needs and evaluating programs) (I/C/G).
1. When participant observations are appropriate.
2. When outside advice can be combined with evaluations.
Reliance solely on an outside expert for advice on some project or future activity may reveal only a partial picture of reality.
Systematic or Personal Observations (N,E)
Recommended practices observed, adoptions recorded, and recommendations made (I).
1. In the study of practice adoption.
2. In the study of needed change in behavior.
See the Hiemstra and Long (1974) reference in Chapter Four.
Community Study Indices
This material was adopted for use here from the author's various experiences in studying communities and from Hiemstra (1970--see the Chapter Five bibliography). The first list suggests various resources where information about communities may be obtained. The next two lists suggest categories of information by which two or more communities can be compared.
1. Census information (population characteristics, housing characteristics, etc.).
2. Official state registers (election reports, business registrations, etc.).
3. Census of business data.
4. Census of manufacturers information.
5. Dun and Bradstreet reference book (provides community ratings).
6. Colleges and universities (course work reports, faculty research reports, etc. related to a particular community or community groups).
7. Sales Management magazine (provides community ratings).
8. Trade unions, various businesses, and industrial firms (business reports, socio-economic and demographic facts, and other information).
9. Number of different racial, ethnic, and religious groups.
10. Market research reports.
11. Directory of post offices (number of mail deliveries, rural deliveries, etc.).
12. State or local development commission (various kinds of community reports)
13. Industrial development commissions (state, county, or local levels).
14. Ayer Directory of Publications (circulation numbers, frequency, etc., regarding various community newspapers).
15. Radio and TV station survey data (stations are required by law to gather social needs data each year).
16. State educational directories (or State Department of Education annual reports).
17. State (or local) hospital plans (number of doctors, number or medical specialists, patients admitted, etc.).
18. State medical directory (number of doctors, number of medical specialists, patients admitted, etc.
19. Local libraries (community reports, special data, league of women voters information, community history, newspaper films, etc.).
20. City and county data books (welfare/social services cases, agency information, etc.).
21. Local utility offices (community information, future plans, etc.).
22. Local real estate offices (community information, housing patterns, etc.).
23. Telephone directories (many local directories contain a variety of community information).
24. Local newspaper office (back dated newspaper files, local human interest information, etc.).
25. Highway maps (many maps will provide some information about major communities and/or can provide information about a geographical setting).
1. The public school's total educational costs per pupil (it also may be desirable to obtain similar information from private schools for this and other categories in order that a more complete community picture can be drawn).
2. The public school's total educational costs (general fund) per capita.
3. The public school's total adult education expenditures per capita.
4. The public school's total educational debt per pupil.
5. The state equalized value per pupil.
6. The total property tax collected per pupil.
7. The total community tax base in mills.
8. The public school's total general fund expenditures.
9. The public school's expenditures for general administration.
10. The public school's expenditures for instructional expenses.
11. The public school's expenditures for adult education.
12. The public school's total expenditures for teacher in-service training.
13. The state reimbursements received by the public school for special education.
14. The state reimbursements received by the public school for vocational training.
15. The total fees received from the public school's adult education program.
16. The number of enrollments in the public school's various adult education programs.
17. The number of enrollments in the public school's vocational education programs.
18. The total number of adult education teachers.
19. The total number of kindergarten students in the public school.
20. The total number of elementary students in the public school.
21. The total number of middle school (junior high) students in the public school.
22. The total number of senior high students in the public school.
1. The new Effective Buying Income (EBI) for the community (see the Sales Management magazine)
2. The EBI per capita, deflated by the Consumer Price Index for that year (Sales Management).
3. The total labor force (monthly average) for an area.
4. The percent of the labor force unemployed.
5. The percent of the labor force as wage and salary.
6. The percent of wage and salary workers in durable goods manufacturing industries.
7. The percent of workers in non-durable goods manufacturing industries.
8. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The construction category.
9. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The transportation category.
10. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The communication category.
11. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The utilities category.
12. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The wholesale trade category.
13. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The retail trade category.
14. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The finance, real estate, and insurance category.
15. The percent of workers in non-manufacturing: The services category.
16. The percent of workers in government: All categories.
17. The percent of workers in state government.
18. The percent of workers in local government.
19. The total net costs for county welfare (annual report of a county Department of Social Services).
20. The approximate number of persons utilizing any surplus food or food stamp programs.
21. The total expenditures for the surplus food or food stamp programs.
22. The number of individuals in a community at or below the designated poverty level.
23. The number of individuals living in inadequate housing.
24. The number of individuals residing within an area according to various minority groupings.
25. The number of individuals residing within an area according to various age groupings.
Community Report Guidelines
In carrying out a community study, a wide variety of information is obtainable. The following provides an outline suggestive of various potential study areas and could be utilized to structure a community report.
I. History and Setting of the Community:
A. What to study?
1. Site Selection Criteria.
2. Original Settlement.
3. First Settlers (description).
4. Early Government.
6. Significant Events in the Life of the Community.
B. Determine the implications for adult and community education (for example, ethnic preferences, specialized needs, etc.).
II. The People:
A. Characteristics of the People.
1. Social Class Structure.
2. Religious Preferences.
B. Ethnic, Racial, and Minority Groups.
C. Labor Force Characteristics.
D. Present and Future Training Needs.
III. The Economic Structure:
B. Job Training Needs.
C. Income Levels/Status.
D. Future Expansion Areas.
E. Economic Outlook for the Future.
F. The Economic Leadership.
G. Status of the Community (declining, stagnant, state of growth, etc.).
H. Investments Currently being made in Public and Private Education.
IV. Functional Operations:
C. Social Welfare.
D. Educational Opportunities (locally and in the area).
H. Community Groups.
I. Community Power Structure.
V. Educational Opportunities, Problems, and Needs:
A. Dropout Rates.
B. Educational Opportunities for the Various Minority Groups.
C. Educational Problems for the Various Minority Groups.
D. Level of Schooling of the Adult Population.
1. K-12 Level (averages usually available through census data).
2. Higher Education Levels.
3. Vocational and Technical Levels.
4. Post College Experiences.
E. Description of Perceived and Demonstrated Education Needs.
1. Individual (various age groupings) Levels.
2. Group/Organizational Level.
3. Community Level.
VI. Population Changes:
A. Out-Migration Levels of Young People.
B. In-Migration Rates (for example, it would be important to ascertain the educational levels of migrant workers, refugees, or other groupings new to the community).
C. The Current or Expected Changes in Various Groupings (age, race, sex, etc.).
VII. Organizations and Groups (Numbers, Membership Make-up, Organizational Purpose):
A. Formal Groups and Organizations.
B. Informal Groups (clubs, social groups, etc.).
C. Locality Groups (restricted housing sites, special neighborhoods, minority groups, etc.).
VIII. Community Leadership:
A. Elected Community Leadership.
B. General Leadership (visible and non-visible power actors).
C. Special Leadership Person/Groups (social participation leaders, minority groups leaders, etc.).
XI. Other Areas - Special Problems or Needs, Relationship Between People, Geographic Peculiarities, etc.
Model Building Questions
The following presents a series of questions that should be asked when developing or refining a social action or program planning model. In addition, seven headings are suggested around which a model could be developed.
1. How thorough is your assessment of needs?
2. Do you examine felt needs (perceive) or unfelt (demonstrated) needs?
3. Does your organization or institution encourage or inhibit the assessment of needs?
4. How do you use the information about needs in building your program's content?
5. What does the literature (research, theory, experience, advice, etc.) related to your particular field or specialization have to say about the assessment of needs?
Goals and Objectives
1. Do you use goals and/or objectives in your program planning?
2. Are your objective based on the needs diagnosis information you collect?
3. Do you write your goals and objectives in performance or behavioral terms?
4. What is your organization's expectations regarding goal achievement, competency requirements, or behavioral objectives?
5. Would both process and outcome objectives be helpful to your program planning efforts?
6. Do you prioritize your goals and objectives?
7. What does the literature in your field say about the use of goals and objectives?
1. Is your planning based on needs information? On your goals and objectives?
2. How do you sequence (determine a calendar of events) your individual program components?
3. How do you prioritize your program planning efforts?
4. Do you examine a variety of learning and teaching methodologies in terms of their appropriateness, effectiveness, and adaptability?
5. When do you examine available resources (financial, educational, etc.)?
6. Do you plan for evaluation early in your programming sequence?
7. Does your organization have an adequate publicity and promotion mechanism?
8. Do you examine the support or potential blocking attitude of any power actors (power structure) with whom you must deal?
9. What does the literature in your field say about planning?
Commitment to Proceed
1. Does your organization permit and/or encourage any interface with other groups to seek approval or support?
2. Have you identified all potential blockers and supporters?
3. Have you planned a procedure to assess the level of support?
4. Is there general commitment to proceed?
5. What will you do if significant blockage exists?
6. Do you put needs, goals, and planning information through various institutional and other "filters?"
1. What mechanism do you utilize for staying on schedule?
2. What are your contingency plans in case something goes wring?
3. Do you include process evaluation activities.
4. What does the literature in your field say about the implementation of programs?
1. Do you plan for evaluation early in the programming sequence of activities?
2. What do you do with your evaluation data?
3. What priority does your organization place on the evaluation of programs?
4. What does the literature in your field say about evaluation?
Feedback and Modification
1. If a final report is required, have you planned for it in terms of necessary resources, audiences to write for, and the time required to develop the report?
2. Do you use the information obtained from your evaluation efforts and planning experience to improve your program?
3. How do you make decisions whether or not a program should be continued or carried out again?
-- Return to Roger Hiemstra's opening page
-- Return to The Educative Community Contents page
-- Go to Information about the author, -- Go to the Preface, Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, or the Index