Thesis Title

The Center For Dispute Resolution: Needs Assessment Thesis

Date of Graduation

Fall 2002


Master of Arts in Communication



Committee Chair

Charlene Berquist

Subject Categories



After contacting over 158 conflict resolution centers from across the United States in search of their expertise in starting a successful dispute resolution center, it became evident that one of the first steps to producing a viable and productive Center for Dispute Resolution (CDR) was to complete a comprehensive community needs assessment. As a result, a needs assessment study was conducted for the newly formed Center for Dispute Resolution at Southwest Missouri State University. The needs assessment was conducted using an operational audit, examining the center's composition, tactics, objectives, goals and how it could most effectively function in future situations (McClelland, 1995). The data gathered for this study consisted primarily of qualitative information collected from an informal community needs assessment forum and surveys distributed to area judges, community members and individuals who had participated in the CDR's basic mediation training course. A well conducted needs assessment and analysis provides solid planning initiatives for an effective community organization, a validation for choosing an objective and focus for the future, support for lucid allocation of resources, assessment of program usefulness and strengthens a better understanding of the need for mediation and conflict resolution within the community to be served (McClelland, 1995). Results of this needs assessment will allow the CDR to concentrate its resources and better assist targeted areas within the community.


© Stephanie Orman