Collie-Akers, V., Watson-Thompson, J., Schultz, J.A., and Fawcett, S.B. (2010). A Case Study of Use of Data for Participatory Evaluation Within a Statewide System to Prevent Substance Abuse. Health Promotion Practice, 11, 852-858.

Although evaluation is considered an essential component of community health initiatives, its function requires actual use of the data to inform practice. The purpose of this case study was to examine how often and in what ways practitioners in a state system for substance abuse prevention used participatory evaluation data. To assess uses of data, interviews and surveys (N = 13) were conducted with practitioners. Questions focused on the frequency of use for several functions of evaluation data. Results showed that 77% of participants reported using their data within the past 30 days to review progress of the initiative, and 64% had used the data to communicate successes or needed improvement to staff. Fewer participants indicated they had used the data to communicate accomplishments to stakeholders (54%) or to make adjustments to plans (38%). This study suggests that participatory evaluation data can have multiple functions and uses for community health practitioners.