People Educating People: A program evaluation through participation collaboration and action

Edward Porter Eagan (2000)

A school-based primary prevention program named PEP, or People Educating People, was evaluated with a qualitative, participatory method. Participants, including teachers, students, administrators, parents and program facilitators, were interviewed regarding their experiences and impressions of the program, and regarding any thoughts they had about program improvement as well as increasing program relevance within its public middle schools context in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Participants expressed a number of overlapping themes regarding the program and its improvement. These themes ranged from contextual constraints on program operation; development of more relevant program activity and focus; greater inclusion of faculty, students and parents; ethnic, racial and bilingual concerns; and, broader themes of ownership, presence, and integration. The process of the study revealed an effective way on a small scale to provide an important "local" service to traditionally under served populations. This study underscores the value of conducting research that is inclusive and empowering of its participants.