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Boston Fights Drugs Case Study

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The team’s model separates the public into four groups. These groups consist of nonusers, experimental users, regular users, and drug dependent individuals. These groups are based on drug awareness and abuse. The nonusers have little exposure to drugs. Experimental users were people who had an opportunity to try illicit drugs and they were familiar with their names, but they didn’t actively seek the drugs out, nor use them routinely. Regular users were ones that actively sought out and used drugs at predicted intervals. Drug dependent individuals had their lives revolved around the pursuit and consumption of one or several drug products.

The team believed that 10 to 13 year old kids could represent nonusers and experimental users, and 14 to 18 year old kids could speak about regular users, experimental users, and nonusers. They also believed that drug dependent individuals were out of their reach, but they might be able to get some information about them through talks with adults. These three beliefs are basically assumptions that are made saying that these age groups go well with these types of drug users.

I would have also chose to use focus groups for my method of research. This seemed like the best option because it was the most time and cost efficient. Focus groups provoke new ideas, and allow groups to talk about a certain topic in more depth if needed. This is perfect for the Boston fights drugs team because they didn’t have a lot of prior data to work with. The main disadvantage of using focus groups is that people under the age of 18 might be dishonest when speaking because they may be scared of getting in trouble.

Interviews might also work well with developing new ideas and talking in depth about a certain topic, but they would be much more expensive and time consuming. If they wanted to do ten in depth interviews in regards to each type of user that would mean they would have to do 40 interviews! Also in depth interviews are a much more intimidating than a focus group. People are more relaxed during a focus group. This may allow them to open up more.

A large-scale survey wouldn’t work for the BFD team because they didn’t have any prior testable propositions. It would also take a long time, and would require someone to clean the data, analyze it, and develop correlations. Surveys might be useful to use once they have developed data from the focus groups.

The screening questionnaire started with an introduction that disguised that they were focusing on the topic of drugs. The questions were about street violence, drug use, friends, things that the respondents value, and television commercials. There were also a few personal questions at the end. The interview protocol was divided into five categories. They were arranged by having the less controversial topics earlier, and more controversial topics towards the end.

The team of researchers did a good job with putting the personal questions at the end of the questionnaire, disguising the purpose of the focus group in the introduction, and they did a good job with giving the respondents an incentive for completing the questionnaire and for going to the focus group. In regards to the interview protocol they did a good job with starting with casual topics, then slowly going into more intense controversial topics.

In my opinion the team could have made the questions more clear. This is important because the respondents might not speak English as their first language, or they might not have a lot of educational background, or they might be too young to understand the questions. “Many of the volunteers were unable to read and interpret the questionnaire without assistance… Of the 154 who participated, 44 were screened out… of the 110 invited to participate in focus groups, about 20% did not show up at the announced times” (6).

The BFD research team decided to choose their samples from a series of community schools in four different neighborhoods in Boston. These neighborhoods were chosen to represent the population based on ethnicity and socioeconomic distribution. Focus groups were divided by gender and age. They ended up with “five focus groups for 10 to 13 year olds, and four focus groups for 14 to 19 year olds. They also spoke with two groups of adults” (7). I think overall the team did a good job with representing their target population by using four different cities and three different age groups. 5)

“Nonusers avoid both friends and strangers who use drugs rather than confronting them with persuasive reasons to discontinue use” (8). This conclusion is supported in Exhibit 5, on the fifth section of the focus group. A girl between the age of 10 and 12 responded to the question of “What would you do if you had a friend who did drugs?” (24) with, “I’d leave them alone or stay away” (24). Another conclusion that could possibly draw from this is that nonusers fear other drug users.

“Celebrities are not viewed as credible spokespeople about drugs because so many use drugs, because their lives are perceived as different, and because respondents thing they are paid to read a script” (8). This conclusion is supported with a response made by a 10-13 year old girl, “If they had kids on instead of movie stars, I’d listen as long as it’s not a stupid commercial” (20). You could also draw the conclusion that kids are more likely to listen to other kids rather than adults.

Boston Fights Drugs Case Study B

The independent variable in the BFD team’s study is the advertisement. The conditions of the advertisement that they manipulated were the different situations represented in each advertisement. The team tried to make the situations realistic and relatable. They based their advertisements off of their findings from their focus groups. For example they stayed away from using celebrities in most of their ads because they were perceived to be less credible than ordinary boys of girls.

The dependent measures in this study were the reactions of the respondents after being shown the advertisements. The researchers specifically wanted to know how realistic the ad was perceived to be, how much the respondents liked the ad, how likely respondents thought that it would help people avoid drugs, how likely they thought it would help people get off drugs, and if it made an impression. These five variables made up the criteria for the dependent measures in their study.

The team decided to pretest their advertising concepts on new groups of students from community schools. The prevention concept was shown to five groups of 10 to 18 year old kids. In total these groups added up to 25 kids. The curtailment concept was shown to three groups of 10 to 18 year old kids. In total these groups added up to 23 kids. The researchers used the same neighborhoods as they did with the focus groups to choose their test subjects, but they did not choose the same kids as before.

The researchers used two existing antidrug commercials to compare with their four commercials. They tested the prevention strategy separate from the curtailment strategy. Each strategy had two test ads and one control ad. Respondents were given a questionnaire to fill out to rate the advertisements in four different areas. These areas were realism, effectiveness of the message, likeability, and the overall impression. The researchers used eight different groups. Just like the pretest these groups consisted of kids between the ages of 10 to 18 years old. In total they had 48 test subjects, and they all came from the original four neighborhoods.

In order to prevent biases the team arranged the ads in a different order for each group. They always made sure that the storyboards were displayed so they could be seen clearly. Also they had the same narrator read each script to all the different groups.

After reading through case B, I noticed a couple of major flaws with the team’s overall design. One thing that stood out to me was having the subjects rank the advertisements on best middle and worst in five different criteria. Instead of having the respondents rank between best, middle and worst I would have used likert scale questions with 5 different options. These options would consist of strongly disagree, disagree, neutral, agree, and strongly agree. I also believe that the team should have used drug abuse experts to help them design their focus groups, questionnaires, and advertisements. This would have definitely helped guide them through the whole process. The experts could have given them much more reliable information than quotes from ten year old students.

Using the data in exhibit 8 it appears that the “Baseball” advertisement was the most effective for the prevention strategy. This advertisement ranked the highest in all criteria except for realistic. It tied for most realistic with the “Straight” advertisement. The “Mall” advertisement appears to be the least effective advertisement for the prevention strategy. It scored the lowest in all categories.

The “Grave” commercial seems to be the most effective curtailment advertisement. Overall it ranked the highest in all criteria. The least effective curtailment advertisement was the “Bonet” commercial. It ranked the lowest in all criteria.

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