Focus Group: Evaluation of Substance Abuse Treatment Program


A team of researchers was asked to evaluate a program model that treats individuals with substance use disorders. An interesting aspect of the program was its focus on training and employment opportunities for individuals recently released from criminal justice settings. Over the previous 2 years, the program had gathered information about client participation, demographic data, and other analytical measures. We were able to use the quantitative data to track utilization patterns in the identified population, but we also wanted to know how the clients responded to specific aspects of the intervention. We decided to conduct a series of focus group with the clients to inquire about their motivation for using this program and their experience in the program. In all, we conducted three groups, and this case study reports on one. Focus groups are an important tool in evaluation research, and this case study explains the method we used and reasons for conducing it in that manner. It also includes information about focus groups in general.

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