In the 1990s EMT was involved with a major demonstration effort of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) that was designed to increase the capacity of local communities to address social problems related to alcohol and drug abuse through community-wide collaborative action. Over a seven year period, EMT staff conducted twenty-two separate community partnership evaluations—or more than any other organization nationally. Multiple and often innovative approaches were used to assess program implementation and achievements of place-based coalitions funded through the Community Partnerships demonstration. These approaches relied predominantly on qualitative data collection strategies, including use of key stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and written surveys of community and partnership members to document community context, collaborative history, structure and processes, partnership strategies and activities, and overall capacity to affect positive change within communities. In a Journal of Community Psychology article outlining this approach (Springer & Phillips, 1994), EMT principals articulated the fundamental orientations and methods necessary to provide useful understanding and lessons in evaluating community-based initiatives.
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