Knowledge Database

Tool for mapping social situations / problems

Shosh Kaminsky - M.S.W., Knowledge Resource Development manager, Beit Issie Shapiro


The tool was prepared by Ms. Shosh Kaminsky, Knowledge Resource Development and Management, Beit Issie Shapiro


Collecting information:

  1. Briefly describe the nature of the situation / problem
  1. Identify the group that is the focus of attention – the people with the problem

Who are the people – brief description

Is there a common critical characteristic, and if so, what?

Scale – how many people / families have this problem?

Demographic characteristics (age, sex, occupation…)

Where are the people? Geographic service location

Physical and other accessibility needs


  1. List the people connected to the social situation?
  1. List the services available to the group and that affect them (primary services and other services)?

         With regard to each service, map:

Objectives and goals of the service

Who is entitled - criteria


What does the service provide for its target population?

Different programs


  1. Identify the different viewpoints

How do the clients describe the situation and their needs?

How do services related to the clients describe the situation and the needs?

How do people connected to the situation describe the situation and the needs?


      From each group, the following information should be collected according to their assessment and opinion:

Since when has the need existed?

Does the need appear at a particular point in time? If so, when?

Is this a passing or a permanent need?

What are the reasons for the need arising (for example, a law)?

What are the services / responses required by the group – the people with the problem?

Do they exist or are they lacking?

If they exist, are they sufficient?

If they are lacking, how do people in the group deal with the lack?

Is there a satisfactory continuum of services / responses?

Attitudes and norms of the services and the community towards the group

Have there been attempts in the past to reduce the problem? Brief description


  1. Are there gaps between the viewpoints of the different groups? If so, what are they?


In light of all the information collected analyze the following:

  1. Is it possible to identify a focus or a number of focuses of the difficulty / problem, and what are they?
    Some of the focal points are likely to be the differences in viewpoint

      2. Does the need appear at a particular point in time? If so, when? Is there an explanation for this?

      3. Is this a passing or a permanent need?

      4. What are the reasons for the need arising (for example, a law)?

      5. The severity of the need
          What will happen if we do not intervene?
          Are there systems dealing with the need? Do they deal with it in a satisfactory way?

      6. Summarize the history of attempts to reduce the problem


Promoting and obstructing factors

  • What causes the situation to be perpetuated? Note the systems or circumstances that cause this, with a brief explanation
  • What are the forces working to reduce the problem and the difficulties of the situation? Note the systems or circumstances that are helping with a brief explanation
  • Are there entities that object to proposed solutions?


It is important to have information about organizations, systems, and so on in the community.

Mapping the community is a tool that helps identify the promoting and obstructing factors.


Proposals for change


  1. Who should participate in taking decisions with regard to the direction of the desired change?
  1. What needs to be changed in this situation?
  1. Who should be part of the action that will take steps to achieve the change?
  1. What role will each partner have?
  1. What will be our role as an agent of change?


  • Topics:

    Therapeutic Methods

  • Keywords:


  • Audience:


  • For additional information:


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