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Office of Research Services

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Needs Assessment

OQM has conducted numerous needs assessments with ORS service groups to help identify gaps and ideas for better aligning products and services with customer requirements. ​

A needs assessment affords the opportunity to explore what customers really need and want vs. what you believe they need and want. If you decided to ask “importance" questions and satisfaction questions on your customer satisfaction survey, you may already have a feel for a “gap" that may exist between what your customers want and what you are currently providing them. A needs assessment helps flesh out this gap.​

Types of Needs Assessments

In addition to importance rating results you may have obtained, examining these additional sources of data can provide a more comprehensive look into what your customers may need:

  • Customer complaints
  • Stakeholder input
  • Performance, or cost data (product/service utilization)
Additional data collection tools that can be implemented include:

  • Targeted interviews or focus groups
  • Needs assessment survey (with OQM)


Past examples of ORS service groups for whom OQM has conducted needs assessments include:

  • ORS Office of the Director (OD) 
    • ​Examined the use of and need for a variety of services provided by ORS (e.g., medical arts, print and digital media, worksite enrichment programs, etc.)
  • ORF Division of Environmental Protection 
    • Assessed current and proposed use and perceptions of recycling efforts at the NIH
  • ORS Division of Veterinary Resources (DVR) 
    • ​Conducted and summarized focus groups conducted with staff and the Animal Program Advisory Committee to investigate the need for specialized feed and bedding for animals, periodic testing of the feed and bedding, and animal nutrition consultation
  • ORS Scientific Equipment and Instrumentation Branch (SEIB) 
    • Developed a needs assessment survey to determine the need for instrument design and fabrication services among NIH intramural principal investigator.