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Principal Investigator: Karin Hugelius, Orebro University Sweden

Research Snapshot: Can multi-sectoral needs assessments be done online?

Needs assessment is a critical phase of humanitarian response, typically done through face-to-face interviews. This project showed that using a self-administrative web version of the Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER) to assess needs in humanitarian contexts gave the same results as interviews.

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The Humanitarian Emergency Settings Perceived Needs Scale (HESPER) aims to provide a quick, scientifically robust assessment of perceived needs of people affected by humanitarian emergencies or disasters. The instrument assesses a large number of physical, psychological and social needs. Today, a large number of people in all parts of the world use the internet, also in crises and emergencies. Web based research methods in disaster research has shown to reduce several methodological and practical concerns.

Therefore, this project aims to convert the interview based HESPER scale to a self-administrated version for web use, called HESPER Web, and to conduct pshychometric and field testing of HESPER Web. The HEPSER Web can be used both for humanitarian and research purposes and will be freely available by WHO after finishing this research project.

Expected Outcomes

The principle output from the project will be HESPER Web; a tested self- administrated version of HESPER for web use.

The HESPER Web will enable a quicker way to collect data on experienced needs among a large number of people in any phase of a humanitarian or disaster situation. The instrument can be used both for humanitarian and research purposes and will be freely available by WHO.

It will also reduce several practical, security and ethical challenges related to disaster research and render important knowledge on experienced needs among exposed populations, such as asylum seekers in Sweden, people living in IDP camps or woman living in a rural area in Zambia.

Related Resources

Peer Reviewed Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Measurement of perceived needs in humanitarian contexts using the HESPER scale: a scoping study with reflections on the collaboration between researchers and humanitarian actors

Peer Reviewed Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

The Reliability and Feasibility of the HESPER Web to Assess Perceived Needs in a Population Affected by a Humanitarian Emergency

Peer Reviewed Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

HESPER web – development and reliability evaluation of a web-based version of the humanitarian emergency settings perceived needs scale

Peer Reviewed Mental Health and Psychosocial Support

Perceived Needs Among Asylum Seekers in Sweden: A Mixed Methods Study

Research Snapshot

Research Snapshot: Can multi-sectoral needs assessments be done online?

Latest Updates

Ready to assess needs in a new way?

Jul 2021

Previous pilots has shown that the HESPER Web is a realiable and quick way to assess percived needs in a humanitarian population. To further test the tool, the team are now open for new partnership and collaborations for the last field test.


Article published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Jul 2020

The study describes the perceived needs of adult asylum seekers in Sweden.


Article published in BMC Public Health

Mar 2020

The study found that HESPER Web is a reliable and usable instrument to assess perceived needs. It can reduce a number of practical challenges for needs assessment in disasters or humanitarian emergencies.


Local partners brought valuable experience, knowledge and capacity to the HESPER Web research project

Jun 2019

In the HESPER Web project, we are developing and evaluating a self-administrated tool for assessing or measuring perceived needs among people affected by disasters, crises or emergencies. In the planning phases, we didn´t know how essential local partnership would be for the project. However, recent experiences from Kenya have showed us the clear value of our local partners.

Example of study context where needs assessment is essential. Photo: K Hugelius

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