A Community Assessment is a process by which one gathers and analyzes data for a community in order to identify strengths and weaknesses. A community assessment process, regardless of the model utilized, has the several steps in common:
Results Framework - structure identifying overarching results desired for a particular geographical location or project; typically results frameworks have flexibility to allow communities and projects to include their own objectives, indicators of their success, and activities and tasks to reach their objectives. There are multiple youth development frameworks from which to choose to organize your work. Among those frequently used in Iowa are the following:
Community Readiness - Community readiness theory is a practical tool for implementing changes in community services. The theory provides methods to determine if a community is ready and/or willing to address community risks and engage in change efforts.
Needs Assessment -process of determining and describing the current conditions of the community relating to a focus of concern and determining realistic boundaries of the situation and focusing specific attention upon the conditions within those boundaries (Lofquist, Bill).
Data Analysis - process by which one examines the available local level data in order to identify areas of concern and priority issues.
Resource Assessment - process by which a community identifies the available and potential monetary, in-kind, and human resources available to address the issues identified in the needs assessment and data analysis processes.
ICYD "Mapping Community Resources" document
SAMHSA's Prevention Platform