The objective of the needs assessment is to obtain input from key stakeholders—primarily from potential Data Center users—regarding their current capacity, challenges, and needs with FSS data in order to learn how the Data Center can help meet those needs. Specifically, the needs assessment solicited information in three areas: (1) the topics included in FSS, (2) the current use of data and research around FSS, and (3) the data and assistance needed among the FSS data user community.
To achieve the objective of the needs assessment, the team conducted interviews and focus groups with key FSS stakeholders, including program administrators, researchers, and other interested groups, such as professional associations and advocacy groups. Most interviews were conducted via telephone, while the focus groups were conducted in person. Interviews and focus groups took place between February and May 2014. A total of 96 people participated in either an interview or a focus group. (Edited executive summary)