Methodology of Obtaining Information about Societal Needs: The Foundations and their Empirical Verification
Purpose: This study aimed to identify the concept of a ‘societal need’, indicate sources of information about societal needs, and conduct a critical analysis of the foundations of the methodology of obtaining information about societal needs and their operationalization (social services). Design/Methodology/Approach: The article was written based on a critical analysis of the literature and practical verification of the methodology applied in obtaining information about societal needs used in diagnosing such conditions (from the perspective of local government). Findings: Society’s needs are constantly evolving, increasing in volume, and changing their quality. The method applied in this study to obtain information about societal needs of the local community restricted the range of the survey respondents (reporting societal needs-beneficiaries of social services), which points to the problem of selecting the suitable means of communication with the stakeholders relevant in this process. A diagnosis of societal needs cannot be aspect-based. Its potential is determined by the comprehensiveness of information obtained from all the parties representing the stakeholders of the social policy system. Practical implications: The possibilities of practical implementation aimed at identifying societal needs to create a comprehensive range of the offered social services provided by entities from various sectors of the economy and the modernization and maintenance of services in the system of social policy. Originality/Value: A critical assessment of the applied methodology for obtaining information about the societal needs of a given community and the possibilities of resolving social problems thanks to the provided social services.