module specification

SS7168 - Researching Violence and Evaluating Interventions (2018/19)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2018/19
Module title Researching Violence and Evaluating Interventions
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
100 hours Guided independent study
100 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30% 50 Analysis of survey data
Coursework 70% 50 Research Plan
Running in 2018/19
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North - -
Autumn semester North - -

Module summary

This module will focus on methodological approaches to researching forms of violence which are primarily targeted against women and children (e.g. domestic violence, rape, sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and trafficking, crimes in the name of honour, female genital mutilation, stalking and harassment) and evaluating support and prevention initiatives/interventions. Content will cover: feminist epistemologies and power in the research process; formulating research questions; ethical dilemmas and practices; survey methods, including prevalence data; qualitative research exploring women and children’s perspectives as well as those of perpetrators; creative and arts-based methods; policy-oriented research. The second section of the module will introduce approaches to evaluation and the specific issues, challenges and opportunities when creating knowledge through evaluating interventions with victim-survivors and perpetrators of violence.

Module aims

  • To introduce feminist epistemological and methodological approaches to research
  • To explore the range of methods used to build the evidence base on violence against women and children, and their creep into policy contexts
  • To assess the strengths and limitations of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods for answering research questions on violence against women and children
  • To critically examine approaches to evaluating interventions with  victim-survivors and perpetrators of violence
  • To explore the creation and critique of knowledge claims about violence and interventions


Epistemology and methodology
Feminist, participatory and intersectional epistemologies to research. Creating knowledge from the lives of women and children; perspectives on giving voice; the qualitative and quantitative debates; paying attention to power inequalities, silences and subjugated knowledges.

Designing research
From setting research questions, aims and objectives, to selecting methods and analysing data. Techniques used to research violence against women and children, from qualitative interviews, questionnaires, prevalence surveys, and specific approaches to gather children’s perspectives. Sessions on analysis will link back to discussions of power and forwards to ethics.

Ethics in process and practice
Emancipation and empowerment in the research process, with an emphasis on feminist perspectives. Individual and social dimensions of change through participation in research; gatekeeping and access; assumptions about harm, revictimisation and vulnerability; the inclusion of perpetrators’ and offenders’ perspectives.

Evaluation models and methods
What counts as success and how to measure intended outcomes of interventions, with an emphasis on realist evaluation approaches. Theories of change; the challenges of evaluating practice for researchers and practitioners; data and attribution bias; creation of knowledge. 

Policy contexts
How do knowledge claims from research and evaluation creep into policy on violence against women and children? Designing research that speaks to policy while retaining a value-based philosophy; dissemination and impact.

Learning and teaching

This module is delivered over 6 days, 10am -5pm   Three blocks of 2 days will be spread over the teaching semester of 11 weeks.  Students are required to

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  1. Critically assess a range of research methods appropriate to exploring violence and abuse
  2. Develop and present analysis of data on violence against women and/or children
  3. Design a research plan, linking research questions to methodological and/or evaluative approaches
  4. Recognise ethical issues and practices when researching violence and evaluating interventions

Assessment strategy

This will consist of two pieces of written assessments. The first, an analysis of survey data, will be submitted on day 5 of the course and assessed against learning outcome 2. The summative assessment is a plan for a research or evaluation project, to include a 2000 word review of existing literature on methodological approaches to researching the chosen topic. The research plan must include an overarching research question, aims, objectives and a detailed case for the proposed methodology. This will be assessed against learning outcomes 1,3 and 4.

Students must pass both components.

Course work 100%: analysis of survey data followed by research plan.


Coy, M. (2006) This Morning I’m A Researcher, This Afternoon I’m an Outreach Worker: Ethical Dilemmas in Practitioner Research International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 9:5, 419-431

Downes, J., Kelly, L., and Westmarland, N. (2014) Ethics in violence and abuse research - a positive empowerment approach Sociological Research Online 19: 2(1)

Campbell, R. (2002) Emotionally involved: The impact of researching rape New York: Routledge.

Kelly, L. & Coy, M. (2015) Ethics as process, ethics in practice: researching the sex industry and trafficking in Siegel, D., & de Wildt, R. (eds) Ethical Concerns in Human Trafficking Research Cham: Springer International Publishing

Ellsberg, M. & Heise, L. (2005) Researching violence against women: a practical guide for researchers and activists Geneva: WHO

Johnson, H. (2015) Degendering Violence Social Politics 2015 22(3): 390-410

Melrose, M. (2002) Labour pains: Some considerations on the difficulties of researching juvenile prostitution International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 4(4), 333–351

Myhill, A. (2015) Measuring Coercive Control: What Can We Learn From National Population Surveys? Violence Against Women 21(3) 355–375

Reynolds, T. (2002) Re-thinking a black feminist standpoint Ethnic & Racial Studies 25(4) 591-606

Walby, S., Armstrong, J., & Strid, S. (2011) Can You Count It? The Policy Heritage. In Brown, J. & Walklate, S. (eds) Handbook on Sexual Violence London: Routledge

Walby, S., J. Towers, B. Francis (2014) ‘Mainstreaming domestic and gender based violence into Sociology and the Criminology of violence’, The Sociological Review, 62(S2): 187-214

Walby, S., Towers, J., Balderston, A., Corradi, C., Francis, B., Heiskanen, M., Helweg-Larsen, K., Mergaert, L., Olive, P., Palmer, E., Stöckl, H., and Strid, S (2017) The concept and measurement of violence against women and men Bristol: Policy Press