Kudos to Toronto Consortia Lead Harvey Low for his paper in Policy Horizon Canada:
Research and needs assessment are ways for social policy decision makers to better understand the people and the social supports they require. Such tools provide for informed decision making that, when put to proper practice, will result in better client outcomes. Good research strengthens service responsiveness, effectiveness, and efficiency by providing a more thorough understanding of client characteristics, needs, and preferences. It enhances the development of the most relevant alternatives and provides a factual base from which to defend or justify the soundness of actions. Good research however, requires good data. We can enhance our understanding of data by borrowing from economic theory and define information from supply and demandperspectives.