Karuntzos, G. T., Bray, J., Cluff, L., & Galvin, D. M. (2011). The young adults in the workplace initiative: Cross-site evaluation methods. In J. W. Bray, D. M. Galvin, & L. A. Cluff (Eds.), Young adults in the workplace: A multisite initiative of substance use prevention programs (pp. 133-155). RTI Press.
Cross-site evaluations have become a common methodology to provide the best evidence possible from studies examining complex social phenomena. Cross-site evaluations are designed to compare program characteristics across multiple venues, to use common data across sites, and to identify the relative effectiveness of programs and program characteristics (Sambrano et al., 2005; Sinacore & Turpin, 1991; Straw & Herrell, 2002). Unlike clinical trials, which test programs under ideal settings, cross-site (or multisite) evaluations often test the impact of different programmatic and design elements as they are implemented in real-world settings. Government agencies are increasingly turning to cross-site evaluations of the programs they sponsor to ensure accountability of the individuals and organizations they fund, to inform policy decisions, and to gain an understanding of how government-funded programs affect targeted populations.
This chapter provides an overview of the design and methods of the Young Adults in the Workplace (YIW) cross-site evaluation. By assessing program content and implementation processes, identifying diversity in the YIW interventions and populations, and using this diversity to examine the workplace and programmatic characteristics that mediate and moderate the effectiveness of various intervention components and strategies, the crosssite evaluation will provide the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) with knowledge to meet the objectives of the YIW initiative.