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Survey Measurement of Drug Use: Methodological Studies

NCJ Number
Charles F. Turner, Judith T. Lessler, Joseph C. Gfroerer
Date Published
421 pages
This volume presents studies that assess the accuracy of alternative methods for the survey measurement of drug use.
The data obtained from a measurement process are properly viewed as a joint function of the phenomenon being measured and the protocol used to make the measurement. The various papers in this volume show the appropriateness of such practices in the reporting and use of survey measurements of drug use. Overall, the volume reports the results of a program of methodological research that was designed to evaluate and improve the accuracy of measurements made in the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA), the Nation's major survey for monitoring drug use. An introductory chapter (Part I) briefly reviews the origins and purposes of the NHSDA and its methodological research program. Part II contains two chapters that present the results of cognitive research on the NHSDA questionnaire. One chapter reports the results obtained by applying a cognitive coding scheme for questionnaire characteristics to the NHSDA and by using cognitive interviews to identify potentially problematic characteristics of the NHSDA questionnaire. Another chapter reports the result of laboratory "pilot" studies that tested questionnaire modifications intended to address the problems identified in the cognitive assessment. Part III consists of three chapters that analyze various aspects of past NHSDA surveys in order to identify problems in the design and execution of these surveys. Part IV of the volume reports the results of a large-scale field experiment that tested a new version of the NHSDA questionnaire designed to alleviate the problems identified by previous research. The field experiment compared the new questionnaire with the current NHSDA instrument, using both interviewer-administered and self-administered formats. Part V presents the results of two studies that complement the field experiment. The concluding chapter summarizes major findings. Appended 1988 NHSDA questionnaire, cognitive form appraisal codes, supplementary tables, inconsistent response coding, the 1990 NHSDA questionnaire, and the modified 1990 NHSDA questionnaire