Assignment: community needs assessment plan—problem scope

SOCIAL PROBLEM: Poverty in Oahu, Hawaii

Identified a social problem to focus on for your Final Project. You also examined how the problem has been framed in the past and how it should be reframed using strength-based, people-first language. For this Assignment, you will re-visit these areas as you work on the problem scope for your Final Project. As you do so, you will build on the idea that the language of social change matters. You will also use Stroh’s (2015) systems thinking framework to better understand the social problem that you selected.

Stroh, D. P. (2015). Systems thinking for social change: A practical guide to solving complex problems, avoiding unintended consequences, and achieving lasting results. Chelsea Green Publishing.


To Prepare

Reflect on the social problem that you selected for your Final Project. Consider any changes you would make to how you framed the problem, based on feedback that you received from your peers and your Instructor last week.

Consider how you would use the four challenges of change in Stroh’s (2015) systems thinking framework to better understand your social problem. In addition, consider the differences between using a systems approach and a conventional, linear approach to address the problem. 

  • State the Problem You Selected. Provide a succinct statement that articulates what you currently know about the problem, based on what you learned from your peers, your Instructor, and/or the Learning Resources this week and last week.
  • Reframe the Problem.  Explain how the problem has been framed in the past. Then, reframe the problem using people-first, strength-based language. Be sure to incorporate any feedback that you received from your peers or Instructor last week.
  • Apply Systems Thinking to Understand the Problem. Using the MCFL systems thinking framework from the Stroh text, describe the problem in terms of:
    • Motivation: Why should things change?
    • Collaboration: Who is affected and who are the stakeholders?
    • Focus: Why should stakeholders collaborate to solve the problem? What should be done to leverage change?
    • Learning: Why should the public bother to make the change? What do they need to learn? What is missing (needs)? What language should be used to frame the overall social problem?
  • Explain the differences between using a conventional, linear approach versus a systems approach to address the problem. What are the major differences?
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