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Public Policy and Administration


Christina Spoons


Since September 11, 2001, money and resources have been allocated at unprecedented levels in order to prevent future attacks on the United States. In the interest of preventing a similar type of incident, counterterrorism initiatives were funded using public funds with little or no oversight as to measuring the effectiveness of these programs. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if there was a statistically significant difference in the dependent variable - the level of awareness of participants (the ability to identify terrorism threats) who attended counterterrorism training that was solely lecture based and one that combined both lecture and demonstration. Three theoretical frameworks provided the foundation for this study: The organizational knowledge creation theory, adult learning theory and the experiential learning theory. The Solomon four-group design was employed using 412 test subjects who attended the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Improvised Explosives Familiarization/Chemical Industry Outreach Workshop . The results of a factorial ANOVA revealed no statistically significant difference in posttest scores between the inexpensive lecture and the more expensive lecture and demonstrations methodologies; however, the results from the paired t test with a p < .001 did demonstrate cost-effectiveness with an average increase of 14 points in the level of awareness from pre- to posttest. The positive social change implications stemming from this study include recommendations to identify objective measures for program effectiveness in all government programs in compliance with the Administrative Procedures Act of 1981. If followed such actions would demonstrate good governance and are likely to increase the public's trust.

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