Perley CM, Gentry GA, Fleming S, Sen KM. Conducting a user-centered information needs assessment: the Via Christi Libraries’ experience. J Med Libr Assoc 2007 Apr; 95(2):173-181.
This article provides a good example of a needs assessment using multiple evaluation methods. Librarians at the Via Christi Libraries in Wichita, Kansas, provide information services to all employees of the Via Christi Regional Medical Center (VCRMC) and needed to develop a strategic plan to meet the expanding use of their services and increasing cost of providing access. This article provides detailed descriptions of how the researchers used a self-administered survey, telephone survey, and focus groups to gather information of increasing depth among users, and includes appendices with survey and focus group questions. The samples used in the project were not random, but the researchers used many venues to capture a solid cross section of their user population; and the multi-method approach allowed them to corroborate findings across different perspectives. They also described how they used the findings to develop a strategic plan and listed their “lessons learned” about doing needs assessment. This is not a “how to conduct a needs assessment” article and the findings are the main point of the piece. But their concrete description of their methods provides added value to their article.