The objective of this paper is to review the methodological issues that arise when studying violence against women. The paper focuses first on the history of research on violence against women, by elaborating on each perspective. Second, the paper identifies and describes methodological difficulties when researching violence against women such as methodology, operational definitions of violence, sampling frame and risk factors related to violence. The paper also elaborates on major ethical principles that should be considered and respected when researching violence against women. Finally, the paper recommends certain changes that should be made in order to improve future research on the subject.
Kate Sim, Ben Zevenbergen., 2017
A wide range of advocates in areas of intimate partner violence and sex work; engineers, designers, developers, and academics working on IT ethics. The objectives of the day were threefold: (1) to better understand the lack of gender considerations in technology design, (2) to formulate critical questions for functional requirement discussions between advocates and developers of gender-based violence applications; and (3) establish a set of criteria by which new applications can be assessed from a gender perspective.
In many ways, researching violence against women is similar to researching other sensitive topics. There are issues of confidentiality, problems of disclosure, and the need to ensure adequate and informed consent. As the previous quote from an interviewer illustrates, however, there are aspects of gender-based violence research that transcend those in other areas becauseof the potentially threatening and traumatic nature of the subject matter. In the case of violence, the safety and even the lives of women respondents and interviewers may be at risk .
The sensitive nature of research on VAW requires special ethical and safety considerations. For example, how can researchers safely approach selection, recruitment and follow-up of participants in a study to evaluate the outcomes and impacts of an intervention to prevent violence? How do researchers address randomization of participants into control or intervention arms? How do researchers monitor and manage risk of violence from participation in the intervention? And what additional protections should be put in place when the research involves populations requiring special considerations, such as pregnant women?
Gender-based violence is a complicated and sensitive subject. Reporting on gender-based violence means discussing issues that are often considered taboo, and talking publicly about intimate and distressing matters. This can be particularly challenging in countries where tradition and religion play an important role in everyday life.
WHO Ethical and safety recommendations for researching, documenting and monitoring sexual violence in emergencies
World Health Organization
Ethics can be defined as a system or code of moral values that provides rules and standards of conduct. The three primary ethical principles that should guide all inquiries involving human beings (including methods used to collect information) are as follows: 1) Respect for persons, which relates to respecting the autonomy and self-determination of participants, and protecting those who lack autonomy, including by providing security from harm or abuse.