Establishing Minimum Standards in Evaluating Drug Education

  • Steven B. Robbins
  • Michael D. Decaria
  • Terri Holleran


The purpose of this paper is to explore the minimum standards required to produce worthwhile evaluation. It brings into question the easy assumption that the lack of rigorous evaluation in drug education and prevention is because program practitioners have been ignoring the basic methodological tenets of evaluation research. The paper examines the notion that worthwhile evaluation is based more on the careful and straightforward inspection of the basic issues underlying evaluation than of the level of sophistication of the evaluation design itself. It is suggested that the resistance for evaluation conducted in an orderly and scientific manner may come more from an inability to stipulate the intent and goals of a program, including their underlying theoretical premises, than because of a low level of refinement of evaluation theory or a lack of resources. It is necessary, when talking about the minimum standards of evaluation, to first address the planning process itself before discussing the research design and application of scientific method. Evaluation can be seen as a dynamic process, which, when executed properly, is a series of sequential phases which build upon each other. Furthermore, it is felt that informal attempts at evaluating programs, when the limitations of this approach are understood, become an important first step in the process. This emphasis on the planning process certainly does not preclude the importance of the design and implementation of the evaluation. It is felt, though, that without a careful and realistic appraisal of the issues raised in this paper, a fruitful evaluation study will probably not occur. It is not in the scope of this paper to address the methodological concerns of evaluation, but it would appear from the body of literature concerned with methodological questions that perhaps there are other, more fundamental reasons contributing to the lack of worthwhile evaluation.


Planning Process Minimum Standard Evaluation Effort Ultimate Objective Theoretical Premise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Braucht, G.N., et al. 1973. Drug Education: A Review of Goals, Approaches, Effectiveness, and a Paradigm for Evaluation. Quart. J. Stud. Ale. 34: 1279–1292.Google Scholar
  2. Cabinet Committee on Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. 1977. Recommendations for Future Federal Activities in Drug Abuse Prevention. Google Scholar
  3. Caro, E.G. 1971. Readings in Evaluation Research. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Domestic Council on Drug Abuse. 1975. White Paper on Drug Abuse.Google Scholar
  5. Glenn, S.H. 1977. A preliminary report: A developmental approach to drug abuse (through the National Drug Abuse Center). Google Scholar
  6. Globetti, G. 1975. An appraisal of drug education programs. Appears in Gibbons, R.J. et al. (editor). Research Advances in Alcohol and Drug Problems, Vol. 2. New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  7. Goodstadt, M.S. 1974. Myths and Methodology in Drug Education: A critical review of the research evidence. Appears in Goodstadt, M.S. (editor), Research on Methods and Programs of Drug Education, Toronto, Canada: Addiction Research Foundation.Google Scholar
  8. Hovland, C.I., et al. 1949. Experiments in mass communication. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Lewin, K. 1948. Resolving Social Conflicts. New York: Harper and Brothers.Google Scholar
  10. Mann, J. 1965. Technical and social difficulties in the combat of evaluative research, in Changing Human Behavior, Charles Scribner and Sons.Google Scholar
  11. Mathews, W.M. 1975. A critique of traditional drug education programs. J. Drug Ed. Vol. 5(1).Google Scholar
  12. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). 1977. Primary Prevention Research: a preliminary review of program impact studies.Google Scholar
  13. Pollak, O. 1956. Comments. Social Service Review. XXX 298.Google Scholar
  14. Richards, L.G. 1971. Evaluation in Drug Education. School Health Review II. Google Scholar
  15. Segal, M. 1972. Drug education toward a rational approach. Internatl. J. of the Addict. Vol. 7(2).Google Scholar
  16. Suchman, E.A. 1967. Evaluative Research. New York: Russell Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Sydenstricker, E. 1926. The measurement of results in public health work. Annual Report of the Milbrook Memorial Fund, in Suchman, E.A. (ed.). Evaluative Research, New York: Russell Sage, 1967.Google Scholar
  18. Weaver, S.C. and Tennant, F.S. 1973. Effectiveness of drug education programs for secondary school students. Am. J. Psychiatry. 130: 7.Google Scholar
  19. Weiss, C.H. 1971. Evaluation Research: Methods of Assessing Program Effectiveness. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven B. Robbins
    • 1
  • Michael D. Decaria
    • 1
  • Terri Holleran
    • 2
  1. 1.Drug Referral CenterUSA
  2. 2.Community Crisis CenterUSA

Personalised recommendations