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Female Violence Victim’s Perceptions in Singapore Proposal


Introduction

Exploration of victim’s perceptions regarding violence against women will require considerable effort concentrated in the area of person-to-person communication. However, given the implicit and concealed nature of the social issue at hand, such communication must be non-abusive and informative at the same time. Above that, for this research, the collected data needs to be as statistically significant and insight-rich as possible. Qualitative research will gather and process large volumes of information, granting an outlook on the breadth of the problem, the prevalence of certain concepts or instances, and improving the value of a study. The quantitative design will let this research be concentrated on exploring reasons and specific behavioral markers in victims that will increase the practical and theoretical gain.

Elements of quantitative and qualitative design will be used in this study due to multiple reasons. Firstly, the complexity and depth of the issue do not allow for measuring it using only one approach as the impact of intimate partner violence on victims is reported to be diverse and multifaceted. Secondly, both quantitative and qualitative methodologies have their strengths and weaknesses, which is why it is paramount to use them in combination. (Johnson, Ollus, & Nevala 2008). The qualitative part of the study and, provided the tool is designed correctly, will help identify new trends in victim’s perceptions regarding violence against women. The qualitative section of the study will contribute to updating the current data on the prevalence of intimate partner violence and narrow down the areas where the impact of such abusive behavior may be manifested vividly. Also, qualitative data will be used to prove the results of numeric data gathered through quantitative research (Creswell 2013). Therefore, the present thesis paper methodology will incorporate quantitative and quantitative design represented by an online survey and online voice-only interview respectively.

Data Collection and Participants

Data collection in victims of intimate partner violence can be rather intricate due to several factors. According to (Bouhours et al. 2013), women that are presumably subject to abuse rarely identify themselves as victims directly. In addition to that, female partners can experience difficulties in defining their relationship as toxic and involving violence (Nybergh, Taft, & Krantz 2012). This fact requires researchers to establish data collection procedures in a way that subjects of the research are willing to share the information required without triggering their psychological defense mechanisms. Furthermore, violence could affect women physically, emotionally, sexually, socially, and economically, which proclaims the need for collecting that information and measuring it in all those categories. The notoriety of the data collection is also aggravated by the fact that in real life those who experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence may seem unburdened and hide their issues even if they acknowledge their existence (Violence against women: an EU-wide survey 2014).

To address these difficulties, the current study needs to be web-based, and all the participants shall be gathered using the Internet. Arguably, one of the greatest features of the internet is that it grants people anonymity. The study conducted by Perry (2010) suggests that computer-mediated communication demonstrates higher efficiency regarding people’s desire to share sensitive information as juxtaposed to face-to-face conversation.

Given the above-stated considerations, the participants for the online survey will be recruited through websites and women forums where the female audience is highly likely to have experienced violence of a physical, emotional, or sexual nature. Among such websites are pave.org.sg, awasingapore.org, forum.singaporeexpats.com, and other resources. In addition to that, official governmental and non-governmental services and committees will also be contacted to distribute the survey among women who have likely suffered from intimate partner violence. Among such institutions is the UN Women committee in Singapore, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Centre for Promoting Alternatives to Violence, Care Corner Project StART, and so on.

The participants for the survey are expected to be older than 18 years old. In the International Violence Against Women Survey tool (IVAWS) the age was narrowed to the widow of 18-69 years (Bouhours et al. 2013). However, there is no evidence of violence not being experienced in older ages, which is why there appears to be no need to establish the top limit for participants’ age. The minimum age is defined to limit the difficulties with using the results of the research, as participants younger than 18 years old are required to submit a written consent of their parents (Informed consent n.d.).

The study will focus only on women’s experiences since they are found to be one of the most frequent subjects of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (United Nations Statistics Division, 2010). No particular religious, sexual, or other preferences will be unenclosed. However, the participants will have to be residents of Singapore to sample the correct audience and ensure other nations’ perceptions do not contaminate the results. For the research results to be significant, the number of participants has to be as high as possible. As the target population, which is women aged 18 or more are rather numerous, and the research author has limited resources to reach even 50% of sample error, the generalizability of the research results will suffer greatly.

The participants of the online voice interview will also be selected by the criteria listed above. Also, the interviewees need to have stable internet access and software that allows for at least an hour of uninterrupted conversation. The respondents also need to have experienced some form of violence from an intimate partner for a study to assess perceptions from a victim’s standpoint and measure the impact of the event.

Materials

The main instrument for the quantitative part of the study is a survey. The survey will use the Bully/Victim questionnaire design as a basis for assessing the potential victim’s perceptions of intimate partner violence. The first part will record the respondent’s age, gender, occupation, nationality, and family status. The second part includes measures of the duration of victimization, specific, and combined measures of victimization, self-evaluation, depressive behaviors and traits, social disconnectedness, and general aggression. Such categories designed by Olweus for his Bully/Victim questionnaire represent a powerful tool for identifying victims among women and clarifying the depth and impact of the victim’s perception of violence (Rivera 2014). The third part will be designed to measure the victim’s perception of the previous or current experience of intimate partner violence regarding the consequences of such experience and possible change of attitude.

The survey will consist of a mixture of Likert-scale and standard multiple-choice questions. Such a design is chosen due to the versatility and reliability properties combined with accessibility and simplicity (Bouhours & Broadhurst 2015). Multiple-choice questions allow participants to focus on the question and provide alternatives that help find the right answer when it is formulated vaguely in the mind of a respondent (Writing good multiple choice test questions 2012). Such vagueness and disorientation may be typical for victims of violence, which is why such design is appropriate (Madhani et al. 2017). Likert scale questions are a necessary attribute in measuring and quantifying social concepts, perceptions, and personality traits (Joshi et al. 2015).

In the case of this thesis, Likert scale questions will be used in the second and third part of the survey to assess particular feelings of victims towards their abusers, the degree of emotional attachment, impact on social life, work, and so on. Multiple choice questions will be used to determine the presence of specific behavior and character markers that identify a person as a victim and help distinguish their perceptions form non-victim ones.

The tool for interviews will be based on IVAWS. This measurement mechanism is categorized into several sections including the demographic part, the experience and the perception of it, and the aftermath or victim’s conclusions (Johnson et al. 2008). However, this measure will not be pre-coded, as the goal of this research is to assess the impact of victim’s intimate partner violence and its characteristic features in Singapore as well as the reasons for staying in the abusive relationship. In this study, the primary goal is to capture the effect that such experiences have and what causes victims to stick to their lifestyle. An online interview is reported as more effective in cases involving delicate matters such as drug abuse, as participants were more likely to share sensitive information (Barratt 2012). Also, the remote communication design of the interview is a flexible and resource-saving data collection mechanism that is not inferior to conventional interviews regarding the quality of data (Deakin & Wakefield 2014). In the case of the present research, the fact that the sample population lives in a different part of the world vividly states the necessity for conducting all research through Internet-based communication channels.

From nine original sections of the IVAWS, only six appear to comply with the present tasks. They are as follows: the experience of violence, partner violence, non-partner violence, previous intimate partner violence, current intimate partner violence, and self-image (conclusion) (Johnson et al. 2008). In addition to these categories, there is a need for a new section that measures reasons for not abandoning the toxic relationship. All questions will be open-ended and will presuppose a prolonged verbal response rather than a short remark. In the case of the latter, probing questions will be used that will encourage an interviewee to elaborate on the subject of the question.

Among other materials needed for the research are the participant consent form and a short statement of purpose. A participation consent form is a required attribute of many types of research that involves the dissemination of results and interpretation of sensitive data (Recruitment of research participants 2013). Statement of purpose similar to one created for this thesis as an academic requirement will be a short document sent via email, which will be used during data collection to briefly notify the participants and interested parties in the goals of this research. Such practice is vital for attracting an audience and general promotion of the issue (Gul & Ali 2010).

Procedure

The first step in collecting data will be to develop measurement items such as survey and interview questions. As they are the key elements of the study, considerable time and effort will be required to adequately design, approve, and administer them properly. The audience for the surveys is defined as women older than 18 who have a permanent residency in Singapore. The next step is the development of participation consent and statement of purpose for the invitation letter. The template for the first can be made from a template found online and approved by professors at the author’s university. Then the study will proceed with an implementation phase that will start from a quantitative part. Administration of a survey with multiple choice and Likert scale questions will be designed with the use of Google Forms that allow creating tests, collecting and pre-analysis of the data in a convenient format (Taylor & Doehler 2014). Both Google Forms and the design of the questionnaire grant total anonymity, as they do not collect any personal details. The consent will be administered through the Google Forms as a page that appears before the test and requires a user to read and agree to the terms and conditions.

The survey will be administered as a link with an email sent to the websites of governmental and non-governmental organizations and communities for women that were possibly subject to intimate partner violence. The email will contain an invitation letter with a purpose statement that briefly outlines the study and its goals as well as the link for a Google Form with a survey. The organization leader or spokesperson to whom an email will be sent will be specifically asked to distribute the survey link among women who might be interested in taking part in the study. As IVAWS administration experience demonstrates, a survey on violence is best presented as a questionnaire documenting personal safety attitudes and experiences as many victims do not adequately recognize their status (Johnson et al. 2008).

At the end of the Google Forms survey, there will be an invitation for further participation in the study as an interviewee and the author’s personal contact information. Depending on the results of the survey that will be able to predict if the person experienced violence, the participants who inform the author of their consent to extend the participation will be selected for an online interview. Data collection will continue for a period of approximately two to three months. Such a term can be deemed sufficient, as the administration of the surveys and interviews is a continuous process that demands considerable time. However, the research needs may require schedule adjustment. As soon as the data is collected, all participants need to be gratified for their time and effort. The study will then proceed with data analysis using pre-developed tools and utilities.

Analysis

As the research presupposes gathering quantitative and qualitative information, the methods of analysis will be different for each dataset. Quantitative information will require statistical analysis. The key variables in the quantitative study will include victimization length, exposure to violence, resistance, physical impact, psychological impact, and sexual impact. The first three variables will be analyzed as per their correlation with age, family status, and other demographics. Such analysis will establish a basis for understanding the underlying causes of women staying with their perpetrator as well as help connect reasons with effects (Walby, 2005). The latter three will be measured with Cronbach’s alpha to establish the internal reliability of test results (Nybergh et al. 2012).

The main tool that will be used for producing meaningful statistical information is IBM SPSS Statistics. SPSS will be used for the calculation of mean, median, and standard deviation and other descriptive statistics in demographics sections and all Likert-scale questions. SPSS also provides an option of visualizing data in graphs and charts which will aid in presentation and dissemination (Aljandali 2016). The main goal for analyzing numeric data within this research is to describe and relate variables among each other to establish patterns and connections that will help investigate the impact of intimate partner violence on different aspects of victims’ lives.

Coding is reported to be one of the major instruments used to analyze qualitative data (Nybergh et al. 2012; Johnson et al. 2008). Depending on the insights gathered from transcriptions of verbal interviews, the information will be coded into several categories. The categories will identify recurring themes that will help identify the most prevalent reasons for continuing abusive relationships. The coded themes from each section will be then inductively assessed to build theories on the emergence of submissive behavior in victims as well as the inability to sever toxic relationships. Atlas.ti will be used for coding qualitative data, as it is one of the most powerful and versatile software for this task (Woods et al. 2016). Additionally, Barratt (2012) suggests that NVivo 8 can also be used for the same purposes. The analysis will be likely to reveal the same trends and themes identified in the quantitative part of the study as well as increase the depth of the research.

Ethical Considerations

Victims of violence may undergo continuous pressure and abuse even during the participation in the present study. It makes it paramount to prioritize the safety and anonymity of all participants, especially the interviewees. Prior research and preparation are required to engage in an interview with a potential victim of intimate partner violence. Such interviewees can be rather unwilling to share certain experiences, which is why it is paramount to establish a proper rapport and reduce distress (Johnson et al. 2008). All participants will have to voice consent for participation in the study and dissemination of the research results orally or in written form. Those responses that will be acquired without such consent will not be included in the research.

Previous knowledge of the general situation with violence and the degree of implicitness of this issue in the target audience is necessary to establish proper rapport and develop adequate measurement tools (Johnson et al. 2008). In particular, the definition, prevalence, and importance of male-to-female violence and intimate partner violence in the country of interest need to be researched before conducting interviews and devising questions for the survey. All this information will be found and discussed in the ‘literature review’ section of the thesis.

Anticipated Problems

One of the problems that the author may encounter in this study is the cultural difference. In addition to the fact that interviews had to be conducted on the sensitive matter with an unfamiliar person could be unnerving and result in poor data collection outcomes (Kalra & Bhugra 2013). As discussed earlier, prior training, research, and procedural design could help address this issue. In particular, Johnson et al. (2008) suggest substituting ‘violence’ and ‘victim’ words to a ‘personal safety’ collocation, which will be implemented in this research.

Response rates may not be as high as it is anticipated. It could be that agencies and institutions to which emails will be forwarded will not generate as many participants as needed and the response rate will be below 50%, which will compromise the results of the study (Sauermann & Roach 2013). To mitigate the impact of such a possibility, proper information will be sent along with an email that is aimed to spark an interest in this study.

Conclusion

The proposed study aims to explore the victim’s perceptions regarding violence against women through mixed-method design. Data collection will be divided into two parts. The first part will consist of an online questionnaire distributed by the means of agencies working with victims of violence in Singapore. The second will include an online voice-only interview with victims or possible victims of violence. The gathered data will be analyzed quantitatively through descriptive statistics in SPSS, qualitatively through coding in Atlas.ti, and interpreted through the usage of the inductive approach.

Reference List

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Gul, R & Ali, P 2010, ‘Clinical trials: the challenge of recruitment and retention of participants’, Journal of Clinical Nursing, vol. 19, no.1-2, pp. 227-233.

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Kalra, G & Bhugra, D 2013, ‘Sexual violence against women: understanding cross-cultural intersections’, Indian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 244–249.

Madhani, FI, Karmaliani, R, Patel, C, Bann, CM, McClure, EM, Pasha, O & Goldenberg, RL 2017, ‘Women’s perceptions and experiences of domestic violence: an observational study from Hyderabad, Pakistan’, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 76–100.

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Woods, M, Paulus, T, Atkins, DP & Macklin, R 2016, ‘Advancing qualitative research using qualitative data analysis software (QDAS)? Reviewing potential versus practice in published studies using ATLAS.ti and NVivo, 1994–2013’, Social Science Computer Review, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 597–617.

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