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Community Action Research

The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit and Whariki have participated in a number of community action projects.

As an essential component of these is community ownership and participation, evaluation must be responsive to the projects and involve an examination of power dynamics and distribution of resources. Negotiation and consultation are other key features of these collaborations.

The Unit has been involved in formative, process and outcome evaluations of community action projects, and has been able to build on a considerable body of knowledge and experience.

Evaluation Training and Support

The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has specialist expertise in evaluation research. The Unit works in the area of health promotion and harm reduction evaluation research, maintaining an action orientation and close links between programmes and policy.

APHRU and Whariki undertake evaluation projects, and provide evaluation training and support for health promotion workers and evaluation researchers. This work has been funded through separate project contracts from organisations such as the Health Research Council, the Public Health Commission, the Accident Rehabilitation Insurance and Compensation Corporation, North Health, Health Waikato, Te Hotu Manawa Maori and the National Heart Foundation.

There are essentially three aspects to this evaluation work:

  • Consultation and training
  • Peer reviewed research initiated by the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit
  • Evaluation of health promotion, harm reduction programmes on request by community organisations and public health purchasers.
What is Evaluation Research?
In working in this area, the Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has adopted a set of conceptual frameworks and methodologies, which are explained below.

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Advertising and Health

The Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit has undertaken a large number of research projects relating to advertising, both of alcohol and food. It has also been extensively involved in research to evaluate health promotion advertising.

As with other research the Unit undertakes, the emphasis has been on examining the issue from a range of perspectives, using a range of research methods.

Different perspectives

The different perspectives include: the responses of children, adolescents and young adults (18 to 29 year olds) to alcohol advertising and the influence of this on behaviour; exposure of children and adolescents to advertising; content analysis of the advertising; ascertaining the perceptions of media experts as to the impact of advertising; expenditure trends for advertising in different media; examination of the codes of practice and any legislation relating to advertising in different countries; and monitoring and documenting the development of policy in this area.

The alcohol advertising research also included a study which examined how people who were or had been in treatment for their heavy drinking were responding to televised alcohol advertising.

Different research methods

The range of research methods used has included: a longitudinal cohort study, cross-sectional surveys; in-depth qualitative interviews and focus groups; key informant studies; analysis of television viewing data (which provides exposure measures) and data on expenditure; and policy analysis.

Reporting results

A number of the studies are reported in the sections on alcohol advertising, food advertising and communications research (for the health promotion research). However, these sections generally do not include the material included in papers that have either been published, in press, or submitted for publication. For copyright reasons we are not able to disclose much information at this point in time about papers which are in press or submitted. However, we have provided some information on the types of issues they address and the methods used.

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October 1997