A Guide to Assessing Needs

This book, written by Ryan Watkins, Maurya West Meiers and Yusra Laila Visser for The World Bank, provides detailed guidance on needs assessment during the early stages of project development.  It provides a range of tools and practical examples that will support the user in planning and implementing needs assessment. The strategies, tools and guidance supports implementation of needs assessment across a variety of programs including large scale projects through to everyday less formal assessments. 


"This book is about accomplishing results—focusing on the practical use of needs assessments as the starting place for making knowledgeable and justifiable decisions. Our goal is not to make you an expert in the application of any particular tool or technique; rather, we introduce each approach, describe its strengths and weaknesses in terms of needs assessment applications, provide an overview of what the process could look like in your organization, and then offer a variety of resources where you can learn more." Watkins, Meiers & Visser, 2012)


  • Section 1. Needs Assessment: Frequently Asked Questions 15
  • Section 2. Needs Assessment: Steps to Success 39
  • Section 3. Needs Assessment: Tools and Techniques 81
    • Part 3A. Data Collection Tools and Techniques 83
    • Part 3B. Decision-Making Tools and Techniques 165
  • Appendix A. Management and Implementation Guides and Checklists 245


Watkins, R., Meiers, M., & Visser, Y. (2012). A guide to assessing needs essential tools for collecting information, making decisions, and achieving development results. Washington, D.C.: World Bank.