David McDonald on assessing service user satisfaction

My name is David McDonald and I am the Director of a small Australia-based consultancy Social Research & Evaluation Pty Ltd, and a part-time academic at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, The Australian National University, in Canberra, ACT, Australia. My consultancy work is largely policy analysis and policy & program evaluation in the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) field, and my academic work is in Integration and Implementation Sciences.

Rad resource: People who use and/or experience problems with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs are typically the objects of stigma and discrimination in the community, and too often receive second-rate services in ATOD treatment and other human service agencies. For this reason, it is important that such services conduct regular review of service user satisfaction with the services provided. The eight-item Client Satisfaction Questionnaire (CSQ-8) is a simple and effective evaluation instrument for this purpose. It has sound psychometric properties and is easy to administer. It produces a single satisfaction score from the eight questions. I have used it in a system-wide ATOD service user satisfaction survey in which I used the numerical scores derived from the CSQ-8 as part of a larger client satisfaction survey instrument. I have also used it in an evaluation in which I asked drug treatment clients to complete the instrument, and then I used their responses as a basis for discussing their experiences and assessments of the treatment program. This produced a productive mix of qualitative and quantitative evaluation data.

[Update: The link to the instrument that originally appeared here has been removed by the blog administrators. Unfortunately, the link had been made available by a third party inappropriately. The CSQ Scales, including the CSQ-8, are copyright and cannot be used without the written permission and payment of use fees to Tamalpais Matrix Systems, LLC. Information about use of the CSQ-8 and the other CSQ Scales can be found at:  www.csqscales.com. Please accept our apologies to CSQScales and to our readers for the error.]

The instrument’s psychometric properties and information about its origin are provided in Fischer, J & Corcoran, K 2007, Measures for clinical practice and research: a sourcebook, 4th ed, vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 155-6. Its use is discussed and illustrated in ‘Workbook 6: client satisfaction evaluations’, part of the Evaluation of psychoactive substance use disorder treatment workbook series published in 2000 by the World Health Organization in conjunction with the United Nations International Drug Control Programme and the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The CSQ-8 is suitable for clients of most human services, not only those specialising in treating people with substance use disorders.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

1 thought on “David McDonald on assessing service user satisfaction”

  1. Hi David,

    Thanks for the insightful information. I’m currently working on a project w/ an evaluation component for a Missouri-based drug treatment facility. Currently, we’re solely collecting qualitative data (since it’s for a qualitative course), but I’d love to see if we could do a change in protocol for the summer and collect some quantitative data as well. Although I just briefly perused it, the CSQ seems very much appropriate–due to its short length (necessary when dealing w/ this population) and psychometric properties. Thanks for the advice!


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