module specification

SS7168 - Researching Violence and Evaluating Interventions (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Researching Violence and Evaluating Interventions
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 200
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
164 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 30%   Analysis of survey data
Coursework 70%   Research Plan
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Week All day

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. In the second half of the module, we 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

Module aims



 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. LO1, LO2

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. LO2, LO3

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. LO1, LO4

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. LO4

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. LO1, LO2, LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

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

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 on aggregate.

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


 Core Readings:
Letherby, G. (2003) Feminist Research in Theory and Practice. Milton Keynes: Open
University Press.
Campbell, R. (2002) Emotionally involved: The impact of researching rape New York: Routledge.
Kelly, L. and 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. and Heise, L. (2005) Researching violence against women: a practical guide for researchers and activists Geneva: WHO.
Johnson, H. (2015) ‘Degendering Violence’ in Social Politics 2015, 22(3), pp. 390-410.
Melrose, M. (2002) ‘Labour pains: Some considerations on the difficulties of researching juvenile prostitution’ in International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 4(4), pp. 333–351.
Myhill, A. (2015) ‘Measuring Coercive Control: What Can We Learn From National Population Surveys?’ in Violence Against Women, 21(3), pp. 355–375.
Reinharz, S., and Davidman, L. (1992) Feminist methods in social research. Oxford University Press.
Reynolds, T. (2002) ‘Re-thinking a black feminist standpoint’ in Ethnic & Racial Studies 25(4), pp. 591-606.
Stanley, L., and Wise, S. (2002) Breaking out again: Feminist ontology and epistemology. London: Routledge.
Whole text available online:
Walby, S., Armstrong, J., and Strid, S. (2011) ‘Can You Count It? The Policy Heritage’ in Brown, J. and Walklate, S. (eds) Handbook on Sexual Violence London: Routledge.
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.

Additional readings:
Babbie, E. (2015) The Practice of Social Research. Nelson Education.
Bryman, A. (2015) Social Research Methods. Oxford University Press.
Denscombe, M. (2009) Ground Rules for Social Research: Guidelines for Good Practice. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Gomm, R. (2008) Social Research Methodology: A Critical Introduction. Palgrave Macmillan.
Humphries, B. (2017) Re-thinking Social research: Anti-discriminatory Approaches in
Research Methodology. Taylor & Francis.
Kalof, L., Dan, A., and Dietz, T. (2008) Essentials of Social Research. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Prior, L. (2003) Using Documents in Social Research. Sage.

Campbell, R. (1995) ‘Weaving a new tapestry of research: A bibliography of selected readings on feminist research methods’ in Women's Studies International Forum (Vol. 18, No. 2, pp.215-222). Pergamon.
Bhavnani, K. K. (1993) ‘Tracing the contours: Feminist research and feminist objectivity’ in Women's Studies International Forum, 16:2, pp. 95-104.
Collins, P. H. (1986) ‘Learning from the outsider within: The sociological significance of Black feminist thought’ in Social Problems, 33:6, pp. 14-32.
Coy, M. (2006) ‘This Morning I’m A Researcher, This Afternoon I’m an Outreach Worker: Ethical Dilemmas in Practitioner Research’ in International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 9:5, pp. 419-431.
Downes, J., Kelly, L., and Westmarland, N. (2014) ‘Ethics in violence and abuse research - a positive empowerment approach’ in Sociological Research Online 19: 2(1).
Rose, D. (2001) Revisiting feminist research methodologies. Status of Women Canada,
Research Division. Available online
Ellsberg, M. & Heise, L. (2005) Researching violence against women: a practical guide forresearchers and activists Geneva: WHO. Available online:

Child Abuse Review
Feminist Review
Qualitative Inquiry
Sociological Inquiry
Sociological Research Online
Violence Against Women
Women’s Studies International Forum

Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit
European Institute for Gender Equality
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights
Sage series on research methods

Academic Search Complete
Care Knowledge
Lexis Library
Oxford Journals Archive
Sage journals online
Science Direct
Social Care Online
Web of Science