Analytical Skills for Community Organization Practice

Analytical Skills for Community Organization Practice

Analytical Skills for Community Organization Practice

Analytical Skills for Community Organization Practice

Synopsis

This guide promotes the use of analytical skills in community organization practice, including information gathering and processing, legislative research, needs assessment, participatory action research, political analysis, population forecasting and social indicator analysis, power analysis, program development and planning, resource development, budgeting, and grant writing,. These analytical methods, often used in practice but seldom systematically discussed, assist the practitioner in identifying community problems, planning interventions, and conducting evaluations. The text explicates a problem-solving model that identifies concepts and theories underlying practice, methods for problem identification and assessment, and techniques for goal setting, implementation, and evaluation. It features extensive listings of Web sites for community organization practice and is dedicated to the idea that the community organizer, to be truly effective, must be prepared to be an active learner.

Excerpt

Community organizers use a wide variety of intervention strategies to promote social change. Social workers who engage in community practice often take on a variety of roles: They can coordinate community outreach efforts, linking people to services. They work in the constituency offices of elected political leaders. They are employed as social services planners for government agencies. They are social activists working to organize protests for groups such as ACT-UP or consumer boycotts for the National Council of La Raza. Organizers are also employed by interest groups to lobby for legislation or to analyze data to document the impact of government policies.

Community organizers use a great variety of skills to promote social change. Some of these skills are interpersonal, involving the art of motivating people to participate in organizing efforts or to alter the course of decision making by government and social institutions. Other skills are analytical in nature. They involve the collection and interpretation of data by the organizer. Analysis is necessary to ensure that the best and most effective social change strategies are used. The curriculum policy statement of the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) (1994) specifies that social work students, regardless of practice specialization, must have instruction that ā€œstrengthen[s] the student's understanding and appreciation of a scientific . . .

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