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This multi-lingual/multi-cultural study was called, Community Assets Processt, by the groups that “commissioned” it: Finnup Foundation, Finney County K-State Research & Extension, Western Kansas Community Foundation, Finney County United Way, Finney County Health Department, United Methodist Community Health Center (UMMAM), Center for Children and Families, Garden City Recreation Commission, and the Garden City Cultural Relations Board, because we intend for this to be an ongoing discussion.

An objective, for those promoting the study, was to connect foundation, state, and federal funding with activities or services that addressed the true needs of people living in Finney County. The group was looking for data that would offer insights on ways to address the needs of diverse audiences through human services agencies, County Extension, the schools, churches, and other entities working with community members of Finney County.

Initially, an online survey was sent to directors of Finney County’s human service organization/agencies and schools. Directors were asked what sorts of data were required to help them quantify the needs of their client/customer bases. It was from those responses that the committee designed the survey instrument. The objective of the resulting survey instrument was to gather data that would:

  • Identify resources available in Finney County (a Minority-majority county)
  • Identify services needed in the community
  • Capture information regarding well-being of people in Finney County
  • Feature
    • General Demographic (gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, household income)
    • Length of years lived in Finney County
    • Primary and secondary languages spoken at home (the survey was conducted in four (4) languages)
    • Educational needs
    • Health questions (insurance, health conditions, mental health, medical care, etc.)
    • Social and health needs; and
    • Questions to measure community engagement and social involvement
  • Target individuals and groups of varying ages, socio-economic backgrounds, ethnic backgrounds, and religious affiliations.
  • Target survey respondents 18 years or older
  • Keep survey respondents’ identities confidential since the study was approved by Kansas State University’s Institutional Review Board for compliance in Research with Human Subjects.

Data were gathered from about 1% of Finney County’s population through surveys and focus groups conducted in four languages better to understand the assets, needs, and social relationships of this cultural and ethnically diverse population.

Researchers use caution when studying racially ethnic groups who may have different priorities. There can be a tendency of culturally-dominant groups to judge diverse groups with the dominants’ values (Perez, E. O., 2009, Hero, 2007; Kao, 2004). For this study, it became important to use research tools that reflected the language(s), sentence syntax, and vocabulary of the group(s) to be studied (Hero, 2007).

The survey instrument was designed by members of an ad hoc committee organized to complete this project. The survey was written in four languages, English, Spanish, Karen (the language of one of Burma’s major clans - pronounced, Kaw-ren), and Somali. The translated surveys were taken from the original English questionnaire. Once the questions were translated, they were back-translated to English to make sure that the integrity of the original questions remained and meaning was not lost. We took steps to assure that there would be what we believe to be a representative sample of Finney County’s population. Most of the surveys were distributed in a focus group-type format in that groups were given surveys to complete. Focus group facilitators were trained prior to their proctoring the completion of surveys by any gathered groups of people. For example, surveys were completed at the local senior center, with various parent groups associated to different school programs or adult education classes. The survey was also made available on-line in English.


25 interviews were completed in English and Spanish, and any open-ended questions from the surveys were translated from Karen, Somali, and Spanish and analyzed with other qualitative data.

Data analyses proved to be most telling of how families living in communities high in ethnic minorities fare economically, educationally, healthfully, and socially. These data are important to anyone wanting to be part of the solution in improving lives for families living in rural communities.



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New Prairie Press




family law, health law, housing law, human rights law, immigration law, rural, race, engagement, social welfare


Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Learning | Community-Based Research | Family Law | Growth and Development | Health Economics | Health Law and Policy | Housing Law | Human Rights Law | Immigration Law | International and Area Studies | Multivariate Analysis | Other Life Sciences | Race and Ethnicity | Regional Sociology | Rural Sociology | Social Welfare | Sociology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.

The Finney County, Kansas Community Assessment Process: Fact Book