Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Getting Started

Available Data

Gathering available information will help you understand the alcohol-related issue you have identified. It can also help to establish a baseline against which to measure outcomes at the end of your program. Baseline data will provide you with up-to-date information on the status of your issue before the program is implemented.

Background information can be derived from official records and statistics, media reports, and other sources.

Are any of these types of primary data available for the target group, setting, or behaviors you are examining?

  • Incidence rates (e.g. of underage drinking, drink-driving, binge drinking);
  • School records (student population, discipline records);
  • Police records (arrests, deaths, crime statistics);
  • Hospital records (ER admissions, casualties);
  • Road safety records (traffic crashes, fatalities, injuries);
  • Population norms or perceptions of norms, either injunctive norms (acceptability of drinking and related attitudes about alcohol use) or descriptive norms (typical behavior of others);
  • Knowledge or attitude about drinking risks and protective factors;
  • Existing rates of alcohol use or drinking patterns.

Are any of these types of secondary data available? Some of these may have an impact on the outcome of interest and would be important to include in your data analysis.

  • Population per square mile / kilometer
  • Rural / urban population distribution
  • Unemployment rate / socioeconomic level
  • Racial / ethnic composition
  • Religion practiced
  • Number and density of alcohol outlets
  • Number of cars and other motorized vehicles per capita
  • Number of police check points

If no data are available for your particular Target audience, consider developing a questionnaire to collect data related to the outcomes of interest to your program so that you will be able to create a baseline. This will become your pre-intervention questionnaire. At the end of your program implementation phase, you can use the same items in this questionnaire to administer a post-intervention questionnaire in order to measure the progress of your program.

Depending on the nature of your program, background information can also be obtained from structured or semi-structured interviews and focus groups.  


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Target audience

the particular group to which the program is aimed. For example, young people.