ERIC Number: ED241830
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Delinquency Prevention Program Managers' Theories of Action: A Content Analysis.
Cook, Michael S.
Program development evaluation should focus on articulating theoretical rationales for program design and activities. To assist the managers of 17 school-based delinquency prevention projects (School Action Effectiveness Study) in developing theories of action, the Program Development Evaluation (PDE) method was utilized. To construct the theories, program managers extracted and stated links between individual variables (causes, events, outcomes) explicitly mentioned in the PDE plan. These theories of action were content analyzed. Results showed that, over time, the theories became larger, with more central variables and more links between them. Most of the increase was due to elaboration of the intermediate portions of the theories. The theories also became more related to delinquency, but this change was largely attributable to the development of delinquency theories by project managers who had not orignially specified delinquency theories. Project managers appeared to develop theories in response to interventions that they already were committed to implementing. There was little evidence that theory produced substantial modification in most programs. The resultant theories were multi-causal and eclectic; traces of scientific theories could be found, but major differences, principally in size, were noted. Recommendations for future use of the PDE method include using it to design initial program interventions, and training implementors to use the model and to think in theoretical action terms. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD. Center for Social Organization of Schools.
Identifiers: Program Development Evaluation Method; Theoretical Orientation
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).