Improving needs assessment

This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey: From the January/February 2005 issue of Australian Family Physician. Free full text is available.

Allan JA, Schaefer D, Stocks N. Improving the learning needs survey by using four approaches. Aust Fam Physician 2005; 34(1-2):84-86.

BACKGROUND: Learning needs analyses are often undertaken to plan continuing education programs. They usually use questionnaires that have shortcomings regarding validity, relevance, breadth and detail. We tested a questionnaire using four questioning strategies to approximately 1762 general practitioners.
METHOD: Our questionnaire listing 104 topics asked open ended questions and specific information about desired topics. It was distributed by The Royal Australian Coll! ege of General Practitioners and divisions of general practice in

South Australia

and the

Northern Territory

RESULTS: The survey yielded 578 responses (33%). The different survey strategies highlighted different areas of learning need. Overall, the highest ranked topics were dermatology, complementary medicine, psychiatry, and business and practice management. Participating divisions were generally satisfied with the feedback.
DISCUSSION: Despite a poor response rate, the survey provided interesting information, and a set of broad learning topic! s.


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