Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Linda Spatig

Second Advisor

Lisa A. Heaton

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Campbell

Fourth Advisor

Paula Flaherty


This study tested a grounded theory model, Getting it Together: A Learning Model of Community Collaboration, developed during a six-year study (2004-2010) of a statewide substance abuse prevention program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP). The model features the perceptions and experiences of those who were active in community-based collaborative and educational work in West Virginia focused on substance abuse prevention. The study revisited community coalitions from three counties that were part of the original ethnographic research used to develop the community collaboration theory. The grounded theory model was used as the lens through which to examine what the three community coalitions experienced in the subsequent years. The findings from this collective case study support the grounded theory model and its key components—the “right” people, collaborative engagement, shared commitments, and financial resources, bound together by a focus on learning. Further, findings suggest theory modifications related to the importance of: 1) youth members and paid staff; 2) coalitions’ community presence and reputation; 3) evolving shared commitments within the coalition as well with other community groups; 4) continuity in supportive fiscal agents; and 5) the quality of learning opportunities for coalitions. In effect, new information advanced knowledge about key factors related to the effectiveness and sustainability of community coalitions.


Substance abuse -- Prevention -- Evaluation.

Substance abuse -- Prevention -- West Virginia.