3-Building Community Capacity: Diagnosis & Roles

Effective diagnosis is the first critical element in community capacity building.  An effective diagnosis is the cornerstone of effective purpose-based action.  Determining which purposeful activity or activities to pursue through either quantitative or qualitative assessment of the community needs and the scope of the effort needed to achieve desired outcomes requires four key principles:  considering the unique characteristics of the community, how the issue uniquely manifests itself in the community;  using a limited amount of information focused more on developing solutions than analyzing the issue or problem; considering all the functional components of the community system necessary to achieve the desired outcomes and focusing on community strengths, or assets, when choosing from potential purposeful activities to pursue.

An Extension professional’s response to a diagnosis and her role in the community capacity building effort will be determined by the purposeful activity or activities identified and the necessary functions to be performed when pursuing that activity.  Most often, Extension professionals will be responsible for performing the primary functions associated with each purposeful activity and assisting the community in identifying secondary roles and community members to fill those secondary roles.  This section of the materials reviews:

  • Effective diagnostic practices for communities and organizations; and
  • A case study of key principles





Diagnosis and the Appropriate Comm Dev Response from Steve Grabow