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 


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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

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