"Two key ingredients are invariably missing from disorganized communities: information and analysis (Lee, 1992)." Information is the key to understanding a community. Shared information is what enables people to become engaged in a process of learning and consensus building.
Similar to Lee's point of view, a good community assessment is both a product and a process (Bruner et al., 1993). The product includes solid information about the community's current condition including its needs and resources. The process is one whereby information is shared so community members collectively learn about their community and become engaged in working together for change.
An effective community assessment is also reliant on the fact that it cannot be abandoned once the initial activity of collecting and analyzing the data is complete (Samuels et al., 1995). The priorities which are established as part of the community assessment process need to be pursued, otherwise, the community will become disillusioned and withdraw their participation. The organizational base which develops in the community during the assessment process should be supported and cultivated as a means by which the community can more effectively act on its own behalf. As well, the assessment establishes a baseline of information that should be updated and used to assess the progress of community conditions. In this way, the end of a community assessment also represents a beginning.