Problems in needs assessment data: Discrepancy analysis

Yi Fang Lee, James W. Altschuld*, Jeffry L. White

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Needs assessment (NA) is generally based on the discrepancy between two conditions-the desired and present states. To date, there has not been an extensive research regarding a number of subtle problems in discrepancy analysis. One such example is missing data for one or both the two states. This leads to highly varied item n's for calculating discrepancy scores. Concerns like this arose in a NA study of minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs in universities. A number of problems observed in this context are discussed as well as possible solutions for them. The results should be valuable to needs assessors and evaluators responsible for assessing needs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-266
Number of pages9
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Aug
Externally publishedYes


  • Discrepancy analysis
  • Discrepancy-based needs
  • Needs assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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