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Research: Use of Data & Statistics

When utilizing research data, it is important to be knowledgeable about the data set(s) you are drawing from, and to think critically about the information source. Critical questions to consider when using data in your work:

  • Where did the funding for the research come from?
  • Who conducted the research, and with whom are they affiliated?
  • What was the purpose of the study?
  • What was the data collection strategy?
  • How reliable and valid are the data collection and measurement tools used?
  • What populations were included/excluded?
  • How are the key research terms defined (such as intimate partner violence, sexual coercion, or rape)?
  • What questions were asked, and how?
  • When was the information gathered?
  • How were the data coded, analyzed, and reported?

The resources included here address how to evaluate and use data, providing recommendations for considering the credibility, value and limitations of research and data collection methods. If for any reason you cannot find what you're searching for, please send us a materials request via our online contact form.

September 2009
This Applied Research paper provides an overview of how estimates of sexual violence in the United States are produced, with particular emphasis on major sources of rape statistics at the national level.
Authors: Dean Kilpatrick and Jenna McCauley With contributions from Grace Mattern
March 2005
The document discusses discrepancies in scholars' interpretations of findings regarding women's use of violence against intimate partners, explains the findings of the research review, and provides recommendations for research and practice.
Authors: Joanne Belknap and Heather Melton
March 2002
This document is a helpful guideline for the use and evaluation of research reports. It is intended to help advocates become more skilled and confident about reading and understanding research reports.
Authors: Sandra K. Beeman With contributions from Carol Arthur
Feburary 1998
This document offers a critique of the Conflict Tactics Scale, a commonly-used measurement instrument designed to estimate the extent of violence against women, examining several limitations and describing the need for multiple measures of woman abuse.
Authors: Walter DeKeseredy and Martin Schwartz
January 1998
This document highlights the differences between two of the largest U.S. surveys that attempt to measure violence against women, and explores the factors that attribute to the differences in incidence rates of violence in each study.
Authors: Ronet Bachman