Social Science Research Center

Needs Assessments and Survey Research

The Social Science Research Center (SSRC) has provided comprehensive, community human services needs assessments and surveys in the following Indiana counties (including telephone, face-to-face, and mail-out survey methodologies to collect information from community leaders, residents, and agencies):

  • Blackford County,
  • Delaware County,
  • Grant County,
  • Henry County,
  • Huntington County,
  • Jay County,
  • Madison County,
  • Randolph County, and
  • Wayne County.

Here are some recent examples of needs assessment and survey research work conducted by the SSRC.

Needs Assessment Survey for LifeStream Services, Inc. (2011)

The SSRC fulfilled a contract with LifeStream Services, Inc., a local Area Agency on Aging (Area 6) to conduct a comprehensive, multi-county needs assessment survey. We provided technical assistance for the development of the appropriate methodology, creation of the instrument, survey administration, data analysis, and reporting for the assessment. The findings from the study were found to be a valuable planning tool for LifeStream as it considered its current and future service offerings, marketing initiatives, and general perceptions regarding human services within the organization's service delivery area.

Wayne County Health Department (2010)

The Wayne County Health Department funded a community interest survey regarding the inclusion of dental services at the Wayne County Health Department health clinic. Using a telephone survey methodology, this study utilized a random sample of active Health Department client households that had used some other service at its health clinic. First and foremost, this survey project was developed to ascertain the level of interest from consumers of Wayne County Health Department clinic services in the addition of general dental services at the clinic, e.g., preventative dental checkups, fillings, extractions.  What is the level of interest? Do current Health Department patients have dental service? If dental services were offered, would they use the Health Department, for dental care?  Do they have Medicaid or dental insurance? If there’s community interest, what hours of service are preferred, e.g., daytime, evening, weekend? The survey design provided data to answer these kinds of basic questions.

Delaware County Community Survey-Deliberative Democracy and Attitudes Towards American Health Care (2008)

Working with faculty from the Department of Political Science at Ball State University, as well as Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, we assisted in the conduct of this multi-phase, community-based research project. More specifically, this project used a three-phase data collection design, where a community-wide baseline [telephone] survey was completed that asked questions related to the perceptions of the state of the American health care system. Participants were then randomly invited to attend a deliberative event that would provide non-partisan information regarding current issues surrounding healthcare. The same survey instrument used in the community baseline was then administered at the event using a pre/post methodology to participants. Later, participants were then called back (three weeks after the deliberative event), and surveyed using the same instrument. While survey models that use the deliberative event routinely stop after the event to measure the change in attitudes after a learning event, this project was innovative in that it included a third phase, intended to measure the longevity of attitude change and knowledge gains as a result of participating in a deliberative event.

Delaware County Community Survey-The Role of Work and De-stigmatization of the Chronically Mentally Ill (2007)

This community-based research project utilized a telephone-based survey methodology to examine community attitudes of individuals regarding the stigma associated with the chronically mentally ill. Working with Dr. David Perkins from the Department of Psychological Science at Ball State University, this funded research was conducted with support from the Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State. Responding to a short vignette describing a chronically mentally ill individual who either worked or did not work, community respondents were then asked a series of questions related to measures of social distance and stigmatization.

SSRC Assistance to WIPB/PBS "By the People" Health Care Forum/Dialogue (2005)

The SSRC was asked by WIPB to assist with recruitment and confirmation for a community forum on health care issues held at Minnetrista Center in Muncie, Indiana. WIPB’s community dialogue on health care was one of several similar forums held throughout the country by PBS. The Center assisted by consulting on the telephone recruitment outline (script), drafting the Questions and Answers sheet for calling, arranging for the purchase of the sample (and later for additional numbers), calling prospective attendees and conducting follow-up calls, developing a spreadsheet to track calls and tracking all calls (participant name, address, phone, email, dates of contact, attendance status, best time to call back if necessary, date of any follow up calls, miscellaneous information and demographics, including age, race, education and political party), regular reporting on calls to WIPB for them to prepare and mail packets to participants, data entry of pre-test/post-test conducted on the day of the forum. 

United Way of Delaware County Project Development for a "State of Caring" Index (2003-2004)

The SSRC developed a “State of Caring Index” for Delaware County, at the request of the local United Way.  In the spring of 2003, the SSRC created a demographics report, as a community service project, to assist the United Way in the development of community-wide programs. The report design was based on the United Way of America’s “State of Caring Index," using the six key areas used by that index to provide economic, social and environmental standings: economy and financial well- being, education, health, volunteerism/charity/civic engagement, safety, and natural environment and other factors. In this follow-up funded project, the SSRC updated data and collected new data where available. County, state and national data comparisons were made where data were available.

Public Opinion Survey (with the Department of Political Science at Ball State) (2004)

Working with faculty in the Political Science Department at Ball State, the SSRC conducted a survey of Delaware County residents regarding political attitudes during an election year. We consulted on the research design, instrumentation and programming, as well as trained and supervised interviewers in best-practice methods. The data was then compiled and given to faculty for analysis.


Statewide Sexual Literacy Survey for Planned Parenthood of Greater Indiana (2003)

The SSRC assisted Planned Parenthood of Greater Indiana in designing a survey instrument and administering a telephone survey to a random sample of Indiana residents 18 years-of-age and older to develop a baseline of data that describes residents’ knowledge about important sexually related topics.  Planned Parenthood of Greater Indiana serves more than 100,000 in the state of Indiana, and survey results will be used to help guide future education and training programs for areas served. 

Middletown Area Survey (MAS) (1982 - 2002)

Building on the work of Robert and Helen Lynd in their historic 1929 study of Muncie, Indiana (known as Middletown), we worked with several departments in the College of Sciences and Humanities to conduct regular (annual) investigations into the populace of Delaware County, Indiana. Most notably, the Department of Sociology at Ball State regularly worked with the SSRC who trained interviewers and administered these survey investigations into various social issues that existed through the years.


Social Science Research Center
Ball State University
North Quad, Room 245
Muncie, IN 47306

Phone: 765-285-1015
Fax: 765-285-5462