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The determination of social need

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Ife, J. W.(James William),1946- (1983) The determination of social need. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

For the purposes of this study, social need is defined as need at an aggregate level, as expressed in statements of the form "Community X needs provision Y". The assessment of social need is of central importance in the determination of resource allocation, and "needs studies" are a major tool of social planners and researchers. Social indicators are also seen as being useful for determining social need.
An examination of the literature relating to resource allocation reveals that there are some inadequacies in the way social need has been conceptualised, and that it has often been understood from within an essentially positivist perspective, as having some sort of independent existence and as being objectively measurable. Further conceptual exploration leads to an alternative formulation, where the emphasis is on the act of definition of social need, rather than on need per se. A model of social need statements is proposed, based on three different forms of need definition which are referred to as population defined need, care-taker defined need and inferred need.
In any particular case of assessing the need for a specific service, or the needs of a particular community, there may be differences between these three forms of need definition. Several
propositions are developed suggesting factors which may be significant in influencing judgements of social need, and which may lead to differences between population defined, caretaker defined and inferred need statements. These factors relate to the type of community, the type of provision or service, and the design and methodology of the needs study.
An exploratory research study was designed to investigate these propositions about factors which may affect need judgements. Three different communities in southern Tasmania were selected, and the "needs" for four different forms of social provision were studied in each area. The overall "needs" of each community were also investigated. The research was undertaken in order to deter-mine a picture of population defined, caretaker defined and inferred
need for each study area. Several different methodologies were used: a household survey, a survey of caretakers (service providers and opinion leaders), analysis of census data, analysis of service statistics and newspaper monitoring.
The results of the research clarify the differences between the three forms of need statement. They indicate some of the factors which may be significant in contributing to these differences, and in affecting the way social need is defined. It is concluded that the proposed model of need statements represents a potentially useful framework for the study of social need, and on the basis of the research results the model is used to derive a number of suggestions for the design, assessment and analysis of needs studies. A frame-work for community development, based on the model, is also proposed, and further research questions arising from the study are identified.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Social service, Social service, Social policy
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1983 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1984. Bibliography: leaves 426-436

Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2014 02:28
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2016 05:38
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