Cavanagh (2003) brings forth a scientific study exploring women experiences in relation to violence occasioned on them by their intimate male partners. The study takes cognizance of the contextual space within which the violence exists as well as the complex interactive relationship between intimate partners.
The theoretical framework presented is strongly supported by three key themes firstly by highlighting that women are not passive in their response to violence against them by their male partners. Rather they are actively involved in making their relationships safe. Secondly, violence against women is seen to happen in an environment of intimate and interactive relationships making it quite complex to deal with.
Thirdly the theoretical framework is broad enough to address violence against women not only from an individual perspective but also from the wider social context. The researcher reviewed existing literature in support of the themes grounded in the theoretical framework. The researcher was objective in the study and was therefore able to ably articulate the issues around violence against women.
The author’s research orientation is a mix of interpretive, positivism and critical science – interpretive in informing social workers or practitioners on how to enhance their effectiveness as they deal with cases related to violence against women, positivism in its use of measurable evidence to draw conclusions to the study, and uses of scientific method in the conduct of research.
The researcher however fails to explicitly bring forth the research question thus causing the reader to infer from the study. Two research questions can be deduced as follows: i) how do women respond to violence perpetrated by an intimate male partner? and ii) what new information would social workers or practitioners require to offer effective services to in the event of violence and/or abuse among intimate partners?
The study design blends with the research questions derived from the study.
Though the study was set out to identify accounts of the way women understand and respond to their violent and abusive experiences through qualitative data obtained from interviewing one hundred thirty six (136) women, eventually the inclusion of interviews to one hundred twenty two (122) male strengthens the research through broadening the source of informants. The longitudinal approach of the study design enhances validity of data.
Conducting interviews in home environments in the absence of one partner enhances freedom of expression hence more likelihood for respondents to cooperate in freely giving responses. A major limitation of the study is the fact that information sought from respondents is confidential and sensitive by nature hence increased chances for fear to reveal information critical to the study.
Sampling strategies are not clearly explained or defended e.g scientific justification on numbers of male verses female respondents is not provided. However, given the nature of the problem, focus on affected families is appropriate and results of the study can be generalized to the entire population.
Data collection procedures are clearly articulated and data is analyzed through interpretation of qualitative data and descriptive statistics for quantitative data. The key findings are clearly presented in the paper. The author has however not articulated the study’s key limitations.
The results of the study bring out its contribution to the professional practice of social work practitioners and it is capable of informing future policy direction. It also expounds on implications of social injustice against women relatively well.
The article has however failed to identify research gaps for further study (Cabinet Office, 2008). A study focusing on violence against men by their intimate female partners would present a suitable subject for further study.
Cabinet Office (2008). Quality in qualitative evaluation: A framework for assessing research evidence. Retrieved from //www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/~/media/assets/www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/strategy/qq e rep%20pdf.ashx
Cavanagh K. (2003). Qualitative social work: Understanding women’s responses to domestic violence. DOI: 10.1177/14733250030023002, 2, 229-249.