The project description will establish the need for the project and give a detailed plan of how to solve that need.
Good questions to ask yourself when considering a need:
The need should always focus on the user.
You must support your need with evidence. Options will vary depending on your project but here are some suggestions that might be relevant:
Census data - The U.S. Census provides a wealth of information. The American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau may be another valuable source. Some communities will also conduct their own local annual census.
MMA Municipal Data: The Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) has data on the 351 communities in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Regional Planning Agencies: There are twelve regional planning agencies serving Massachusetts. These agencies may have studies or planning documents with valuable statistics and information related to your project need.
School data - The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will have data on your local schools. Your local district may also have additional information that might be helpful.
Organizations or groups specific to your project - this could include national groups like National Alzheimer's Association for projects focused on individuals experiencing memory loss and their caregivers, or something more regional like English at Large for those focused on English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) learners. The KIDS COUNT Data Center from the Annie E. Casey Foundation can be good source for data on children and families. Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIP) might be an option if available. Departments or organizations in your community may have gathered data on your targeted population, particularly if that group is their focus. Examples include historical commissions, public health departments, or early childhood initiatives.
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