Ethnographic Process Evaluation: Piloting an HIV Prevention Intervention Program among Injection Drug Users

  • Yan Hong Johns Hopkins University
  • Shannon Gwin Mitchell Johns Hopkins University
  • James A. Peterson Johns Hopkins University
  • Carl A. Latkin Johns Hopkins University
  • Karin Tobin Johns Hopkins University
  • Donald Gann Johns Hopkins University


This study demonstrates an ethnographically critically informed process evaluation of piloting an HIV intervention program targeting injection drug users. The authors used systematic ethnographic methods to identify and evaluate the factors that facilitated or inhibited message diffusion. Findings indicated that communication patterns and strategies advocated in training sessions did not translate immediately into the outreach encounter in the drug use communities. The intervention program was refined and developed based on findings from the ethnographic process evaluation. The authors argue that ethnographic methods provided a dynamic, flexible, and iterative process for evaluating the intervention’s development and ensuring its cultural relevance.