This study uses a realist evaluation methodology*. This takes account of the fact that ASOTPs are complex interventions, which require equally complex evaluation processes. The evaluation entails three phases.
- Phase 1: A literature review will be followed by interviews with twelve international key academics and practitioners who designed ASOTPs. This will illuminate in what ways ASOTPs are intended to work.
- Phase 2: We will explore case studies of men who have attended ASOTPs to explain the impact the program had on them, whether and how it worked and in what contexts.
There will be three types of data collection:
- Four focus groups with altogether 24 participants will look at the user experiences of treatment.
- Eighty patient files will be reviewed to examine how well the treatment worked for each person.
- From this a sample of 20 participants, ten for whom the treatment worked and ten for whom it did not, are followed up through interviews with offenders and practitioners, to find out in more detail why the program did (not) work.
- Phase 3: The twelve key practitioners are revisited. Ideas that were developed from phase 1 and 2 on what works, for whom and in what contexts are presented to them and they will offer expert commentary.
They will examine the case studies from England and Switzerland and tease out how wider social contexts, such as public policy and social care practice, impact on treatment success by comparing those to their local contexts.
* Pawson, R., & Tilley, N. (1997). Realistic evaluation. London: SAGE.