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Reporting the Findings

Often little attention is given to reporting the findings of assessment research and yet this part of the process is critical if the information is to be used by the community. In deciding how to summarize and present community assessment findings, you need to consider who will receive the information (Edmonton Social Planning Council, 1988). Worksheet 3 helped address this question during the planning phase. Referring back to your answers, you will likely find that your intended audience includes a variety of different groups. Consequently, the best way of getting the assessment information to people may be to use a combination of approaches. In general, there are four ways to report your findings (Edmonton Social Planning Council, 1988). These include:

  • a written report
  • a presentation
  • public meeting
  • a discussion group

A formal written report is the most common way of presenting findings and is usually preferred by those who request and fund the assessment. A written report also ensures that all the community assessment information is consolidated in one document which can be used as a community resource over time. A proposed outline for a written report is included in Worksheet 9. In writing the report, incorporate a range of creative techniques to highlight the process and findings. Maps, photographs, diagrams, tables, graphs and anecdotal information will enrich the final document. To ensure that the community assessment is more than just a document on the shelf, the written report should be complemented by presentations, public meetings and discussion groups. These approaches will continue to make the community assessment an interactive planning tool and will promote its use in the community.