Research Products and Services 2017-06-21T14:48:07+00:00

Community-Based Research Products and Services

Research helps you answer your questions at both an internal (organizational) and external (community/state/national) level. We offer a variety of community-based research products and services:

Traditional research vs. community-based research

In traditional research approaches, the community is not actively involved in all stages of the project. This can lead to low participation rates in surveys or focus groups, recommendations with no connection to long-term solutions, or misunderstood data. Our community-based research approach aims to bridge the divide between researchers and the community, by including community members (or stakeholders) at all stages of the research.

By being connected to all stages of the research, your community members will have greater buy-in to the process, understanding of how it connects to the greater good, and more likelihood for integration of recommendations after the research concludes.

Community Needs Assessment

We can help you understand the needs of your community to better serve your organization and strengthen your impact. We will work with you to identify and develop the tools needed to directly work with your community.

Understanding the gaps and needs in your community will allow your organization to best serve the community and meet your mission. Through our extensive work with a variety of nonprofits and communities, we recognized the necessity to consider the assets, gaps and needs of communities to support the work of our partner changemakers, like you.

How JVA can help

We provide a variety of services to lead or support your organization in conducting a community needs assessment. We can develop, implement and analyze multiple tools, such as environmental scans, interviews, focus groups and surveys, to assess and understand your community and its needs. The result will be a picture of the assets and gaps in your community and recommendations from us on how to meet the needs, complement the assets and address the gaps.

Our expertise

For more decades, we have conducted community needs assessments for countless partners in the areas of aging, early childhood, health, homelessness, human services, hunger, youth services and many more. This broad range of experience has allowed us to gain a deep understanding of the best approaches to elicit and gather useful and valuable information from communities that respects the residents and their personal and cultural sensitivities.


Environmental Scans

Sometimes, organizations need to understand the bigger picture to make the biggest impact on their populations. We can help you see that bigger picture through an environmental scan.

We can perform any combination of the following activities to make a map of your issue and/or population:


Focus Groups

Focus groups are a great way to understand an issue on a deeper and more nuanced level and involve your community in your research. Our team of community-based researchers and evaluators can help you recruit, plan for and carry out one to 15 focus groups on any topic!

As a qualitative evaluation tool, focus groups focus on the interaction of members of the group and explore the differences and convergences between their opinions and experiences.


Health Impact Assessments

If you’re doing any sort of planning, your grant may require or benefit from a health impact assessment (HIA). HIAs are an increasingly common community-based tool that can give you insight into the short- and long-term health effects of your plan. Our community-based research team will pull together scientific data and go out into the community to understand the health effects from any change. Our recommendations will help you implement your plan in a contextually appropriate and sensitive manner.


Literature Reviews

Sometimes our clients come to us and don’t know where to start with their research; other times, they know exactly what they don’t know and need us to dig deeply and find out all we can for them.

Regardless of where you are in your process of understanding, we can find out the information you want to know and present it to you in an easily understandable format geared toward you, your board, your community or the public.

Our researchers have experience with all manner of topics, from the Affordable Care Act to environmental education, and we love a challenge! We look forward to researching your topic soon.


Market Research

Many organizations suffer, because they do not understand the larger context in which they operate. We have worked with dozens of organizations to lay, or update, the necessary framework that is critical for any organization—market research.

Knowing your market and your niche in that market is critical to the success of any organization. Luckily, we have the tools to help you conduct that critical market research. This research is gathered through three different types of analysis:

  • Industry analysis
  • Competitor analysis
  • Market research


Mixed Method Studies

Our evaluators encourage every organization to complete mixed method studies to see the whole picture of what’s going on in your community. Mixed methods studies incorporate both qualitative and quantitative data, allowing you to hear the stories behind the numbers.

Our JVA team can mix surveys, focus groups, interviews, and literature reviews in any combination to shape the mixed method evaluation you need.


Nonprofit Inventory

Sometimes our clients need to know which nonprofits or social services are operating in their area. We can collect information on all of the many organizations with your given criteria and organize it in an easy-to-use dashboard. We can also take it a step further and interview and categorize all of the organizations, with special attention to populations served, longevity and structure.