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European Drug Abuse Prevention Trial (EUDAP) — Process

Introduction

This questionnaire has been designed for the process evaluation and monitoring of the DAP (Drug Abuse Prevention Trial), a multi-centre randomised controlled evaluation study of a school-based prevention programme. The programme is based on life-skills concepts and includes a strong element on normative beliefs. It is implemented in Belgium, Germany, Spain, Greece, Italy, Austria and Sweden. More information on the study, its design, protocol, participating centres and history at www.eudap.net/studyinstruments.html

Process monitoring, and consequent evaluation, is an essential component of any experimental setting, in particular those involving several centers.

Monitoring the process can be seen as a quality assurance requirement both for the intervention programme as such (to ensure the standardization across centers) and for the study protocol as a whole (to allow the evaluation of the differential effectiveness among centers adherents or not to the intervention protocol). A thorough control on the field operations is of course unfeasible, because it would involve a constant surveillance of the activities in each single class, school, and country. Moreover, the surveillance itself would be part of the process, therefore differences in the surveillance system may account for different capability of detecting important pitfalls in the programme application.

To be able to effectively accomplish a successful monitoring, the monitoring plan should:

1. tackle few relevant dimensions

2. be included in the activity package from the very beginning, and not “fall from heaven” when the implementation stage has already started

3. employ as few and as easy instruments as possible, especially when they have to be used by personnel outside the study team.

In EU-DAP, the following aspects of the programme implementation can be easily monitored at the level of the minimal unit (e.g. class, school):

1. Adherence to the protocol, i.e. whether each single activity takes place as planned

2. Attendance of the target population

3. Subjective rating of success/usefulness by the deliverer

4. Critical events justifying or implying deviations from the protocol (e.g. teacher’s illness)

The proposal contained in this document will first take up process monitoring for each single programme component, thereafter will offer a transversal view of the monitoring operations to be done at the centre level.

These data are important to allow the analysis aimed at explain inter-centre variability, inter-school variability, and to discuss the issue of repeatability.

This monitoring instrument contains items for the evaluation of the school-based interventions (i.e. classroom), the parents’ interventions and the peer-to-peer interventions. They can easily be adapted for other programmes with similar structure.

real-life programmes

Instrument

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Page last updated: Tuesday, 04 August 2009