• One of the main problems in studying domestic violence is the difficulty of obtaining valid information on the subject.
  • Official police statistics rely on reports they receive from individuals and the recording of these incidents by the police
  • With other methods, such as interviews or self-completed questionnaires, people may refuse to answer, misunderstand the question, lie, exaggerate or forget. The researcher may also misunderstand or misclassify the answers given.
  • It is possible that male researchers may receive different answers from female researchers.
  • There are also difficulties in defining domestic violence in the first place.

Working in small groups, find answers to the following questions:

  1. What problems might there be in defining domestic violence? How would you define it? How might different definitions affect the results of research?
  2. Suggest reasons why domestic violence may be under-reported to the police
  3. Suggest reasons why the police may not record fully all complaints of domestic violence
  4. Suggest some examples of the ways in which interviews might produce invalid results
  5. . Why might a victim of domestic violence respond differently to questions asked by male and female researchers?
  6. Explain what is meant by ‘validity’. How may all these difficulties reduce the validity of a study of domestic violence?