McWhirter, J.M., Young, A.J. and Wetton, N.
In a class of its own: Introducing a new tool for understanding adolescents' perceptions of the world of drugs
Health Education Journal, 63, (4), .
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Objective To describe the use of 'draw, describe and write', a tool for exploring how adolescents perceive and explain their understanding of the world of drugs, as used in the development of the Blueprint project.
Design A cross-sectional study using a specifically designed research tool, including drawing and open-ended questions, used with young people aged 11-13 years to record their understanding of drug use.
Setting Eight secondary schools in four areas of England.
Method Open-ended questionnaire: 'Draw, describe and write' is an illuminative method based on constructive/interpretivist approaches. Respondents were invited to 'describe or draw' a young person who uses drugs. Further open-ended questions explored the drugs used, the context of drug use and the risks and benefits to the young person and the respondent.
Results A response rate of 85 per cent was achieved. A random sample were analysed. The results provide a valuable insight into how 11-13 year olds perceive and understand drug use by young people. The method is acceptable to young people and their teachers and is strongly inclusive. This tool will be useful in curriculum development and in evaluation of drug education intervention studies for pupils of secondary school age range.
Conclusion The method could be used in further studies whether it is important to understand young people's perceptions of the complex context of the drug using world in which they are growing up.
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