​Collecting your data

Collect evaluation data using surveys, focus groups, interviews or observations. Use existing validated scales or use the template to create your own.

Data collection methods

There are two methods of data collection:

  • Quantitative methods measure things that can be counted — how much, how many, how often. Quantitative data is often gathered using tools like surveys and questionnaires.
  • Qualitative methods are more interactive — they answer how and why questions. Qualitative data collection includes interviews, focus groups and observations, as well as less direct methods like analysing comments on a web forum.

When you're presenting your data, focus on drawing readers' attention to the most important results. Use simple, clear language, and make data accessible by using graphs, tables, quotes, and specific examples to illustrate key findings.

Choosing a method

Sample size is important when you're using quantitative methods like surveys. The higher the number of people in your sample, the better. If you think you'll have few respondents (eg less than five), a qualitative method like a focus group or set of interviews might be better.

Best practices for using statistics on small sample sizes — Measuring U

Otherwise, the questions you're asking and the type of approach you choose should inform the methods you use to collect your data.

Evaluation approaches
Evaluation content

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    Surveys

  • For sexual violence prevention evaluations, survey data might relate to general characteristics of your target population (eg demographics, rates of sexual violence), or people's knowledge or attitudes around sexual violence.

    You can run surveys on paper, over the phone, in person or online (using tools like Survey Monkey).

    Survey Monkey

    Survey questions should:

    • be short, clear, and free of jargon
    • have only one central idea or theme
    • be relevant to the problem
    • include exact rather than general terms to avoid vague responses
    • use wording which doesn't lead the respondent to the answer you want
    • present response alternatives (eg give an "other" option)
    • follow clearly from one another.

    Consider testing your questions first with a small group of people similar to your target audience. Are there any unfamiliar terms? Do they understand what the question means?

    Keep in mind:

    • who needs to be surveyed — are you targeting participants, or participants and the people around them (eg parents, schools, childcare workers)
    • asking about satisfaction is not a good indicator of your activity's success
    • response rates may be low if surveys are very long
    • open-ended questions can provide rich information, but can also make surveys difficult to analyse, and might not be filled in if respondents feel uncomfortable or are short of time
    • closed questions with discrete, multiple-choice responses are easy to analyse but are unlikely to provide in-depth understanding of the topic or reveal surprising information
    • if your respondents have low levels of literacy, consider conducting your survey over the phone or in person.

    Make sure you:

    • ensure anonymity where possible or when requested by participants
    • provide your results to participants if they ask for them
    • have resources and protocols in place to deal with potential disclosures.

    Data recording and analysis template (XLS 34KB)

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    Interviews

  • Interviews:

    • provide in-depth, detailed information
    • can uncover surprising successes and issues that wouldn't be revealed by other data collection methods
    • can be more costly and time-consuming than methods like surveys, so consider carefully who you need to talk to.

    Interviews can be:

    • conversational and flexible — this helps participants to feel comfortable and may reveal surprising insights, but can make it harder to draw conclusions across your data
    • guided by a set list of questions — all your questions will be addressed and your data will be easier to compare, but you could miss important insights
    • semi-structured — prepare a guide, but allow for flexibility if the conversation uncovers something interesting you'd like to pursue.

    Make sure you:

    • get permission from participants if you want to record your interview — it may make participants uncomfortable (especially if you're dealing with sensitive information), so consider whether you need a recording or can take notes by hand
    • ensure anonymity where possible or when requested by participants
    • let participants review any sensitive information or statements you plan to use in your report
    • have resources and protocols in place to deal with potential disclosures. 
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    Focus groups

  • A focus group is a group discussion guided by a facilitator.

    Focus groups can:

    • be an excellent way to quickly sample a range of opinions on a topic
    • stimulate the sharing of ideas among key informants
    • be run in a fun and informal way to help participants feel comfortable. For example, when working with young people, discussions might be interspersed with fun activities as a way of making the experience non-threatening and stimulating.

    However, if participants prefer to remain anonymous, or are nervous about sharing personal experiences or unpopular views in a group setting, interviews or anonymous questionnaires may be more appropriate.

    Make sure that:

    • participants are comfortable openly sharing their opinions (sensitive issues might be covered better in interviews)
    • facilitators create a comfortable and supportive atmosphere in which everyone feels welcome to share their opinion.
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    Observations

  • Observations can:

    • help refine understandings of how services and activities are delivered and in what context
    • be especially useful for highlighting strengths and weaknesses of activity delivery
    • highlight issues that participants and staff members are unwilling to discuss in interviews, focus groups, or surveys.

    However, observations are not always appropriate — observing counselling sessions would violate confidentiality, and having an observer present may be disruptive or inappropriate for cultural reasons.

    Make sure you:

    • get participants' consent to observe them and explain how their data will be used
    • ensure anonymity where possible or when requested by participants
    • let participants review any sensitive information or statements you plan to use in your report
    • keep in mind that the observer's presence may affect the events under observation.

    Observation template (DOC 38KB)

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    Scales

  • Validated scales have been developed internationally to measure beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge around sexual violence and sexual violence prevention. To measure changes in beliefs, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour, the scales should be used both before your activity and after it.

    The scales here have been adapted for this framework — if you use them, make sure you reference the original source.

    Note: most of these scales have been developed in the USA and have been tested (and validated) on USA college students. Consider the wording carefully and replace words or phrases that your audience might not understand.

    Belief scales

    Scales to understand beliefs around sexual violence.

    (These scales are all adapted from work by Rebecca Campbell, Michigan State University.)

    Beliefs about reporting 'stranger' rape

    This scale is designed to measure teen and young adults’ beliefs about what influences the disclosure and reporting of rape, when rape is perpetrated by a stranger.

    Beliefs about reporting rape (DOC 48KB)

    Beliefs about reporting 'acquaintance' or 'date' rape

    This scale is designed to measures teen and young adults’ beliefs about what influences the disclosure and reporting of rape, when rape is perpetrated by a friend or acquaintance.

    Beliefs about date rape (DOC 46KB)

    Beliefs about the causes of 'stranger' rape

    The explanations we offer for rape and sexual violence have implications for rape victims, rapists and for sexual violence prevention. This scale measures beliefs about what causes ‘stranger’ rape.

    Beliefs about the causes of rape (DOC 44KB)

    Beliefs about the causes of 'acquaintance' or 'date' rape

    The explanations we offer for rape and sexual violence have implications for rape victims, rapists and for sexual violence prevention. This scale measures beliefs about what causes rape by a friend or acquaintance.

    Beliefs about the causes of date rape (DOC 44KB)

    Knowledge scales

    Understanding consent

    This scale tests knowledge around what constitutes consent in different situations.

    (Adapted from work by Rebecca Campbell, Michigan State University.)

    Knowledge about consent (DOC 48KB)

    Attitude scales

    These scales have been developed to assist to understand attitudes to sexual violence and bystander willingness to respond to and prevent sexual violence (bystander intervention).

    Readiness to change scale

    This scale helps to understand teen or young adult beliefs about the extent of sexual violence at their school or campus and their willingness to respond to and prevent sexual violence.

    (Adapted for school students from scale by Victoria Banyard & Mary Moynihan (2011).)

    Readiness to change scale (DOC 43KB)

    Bystander decisional balance scale

    This scale is designed to understand perceived positive benefits and negative consequences for intervening in a situation where someone is being hurt or is at risk of being hurt.

    (Adapted from scale by Victoria Banyard & Mary Moynihan (2011).)

    Understand consequences of intervening (DOC 47KB)

    (Illinois) Rape myth acceptance scale

    Rape myths serve to justify sexual aggression. This scale helps to explore 'rape myth' acceptance.

    (Adapted from scale developed by Payne, Lonsway & Fitzgerald (1999).)

    Illinois rape myth acceptance scale (DOC 59KB)

    Attitudes towards gender violence

    This scale is a set of statements meant to assess attitudes towards violence against women.

    (Adapted from scale developed by the Mentors in Violence program (2009).)

    Attitudes towards women (DOC 53KB)

    Behaviour scales

    These scales have been specifically designed to test the likelihood of respondents engaging in behaviour to prevent sexual violence, and their confidence in doing so.

    Behavioural intent (peers)

    Respondents are asked about their behavioural intent around bystander behaviour (eg "how true are the following statements of you").

    (Adapted from scale by Banyard, Moynihan, Cares, and Warner (2014).)

    Bystander behavioural intent (DOC 63KB)

    Prevention of gender violence (efficacy)

    This scale is a set of statements meant to assess efficacy around preventing violence against women. It has been tested on American university students.

    (Adapted from scale developed by the Mentors in Violence program (2009).)

    Behaviour towards women (DOC 53KB)

    Bystander efficacy

    Respondents are asked how confident they would be to intervene in different situations where they think someone is being hurt or is at risk of being hurt. This scale has been adapted for teens and young adults, but could also be adapted to suit general populations

    (Adapted from scale by Banyard, Moynihan, Cares, and Warner (2014).)

    Measuring self-confidence in bystanders (DOC 56KB)

    Intent to help strangers (short version)

    This scale is designed to evaluate behavioural intent and behavioural action around performing bystander behaviours with strangers.

    (Adapted from scale by Banyard, Moynihan, Cares, and Warner (2014).)

    Bystander behaviour of strangers (DOC 47KB)

    Intent to help friends (short version)

    This scale is designed to evaluate behavioural intent and behavioural action around performing bystander behaviours with friends.

    (Adapted from scale by Banyard, Moynihan, Cares, and Warner (2014).)

    Evaluate the intent to help friends (DOC 51KB)

    Perceptions of peer helping

    This scale asks people how true statements are about peer helping.

    (Adapted from scale by Banyard, Moynihan, Cares, and Warner (2014).)

    Perceptions of peer helping (DOC 63KB)

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    Build your own scale, survey or questionnaire

  • Collecting robust data via a scale, survey or questionnaire depends on being able to ask the right questions.

    To build your own scale, survey or questionnaire using the build your own survey tool:

    • Identify each component of your course or programme.
    • Write down the core skill, attitude, area of knowledge or awareness each of your components cover — this will form the stem of your question.
    • Check the scales above to see whether there's an existing scale that covers the core skill, attitude, area of knowledge or awareness in the initiative — these scales have been tested and validated.
    • If not, use the stem in step 2 to formulate a question.
    • Add in open-ended questions if needed.
    • Add in demographic questions.
    • Add in an overall question.

    Build your own survey tool (DOC 108KB)

References

Banyard, Victoria L.; Moynihan, Mary M. (2011). Variation in bystander behavior related to sexual and intimate partner violence prevention: Correlates in a sample of college students. Psychology of Violence, 1(4), 287-301

Banyard, Victoria L.; Moynihan, Mary M.; Cares, Alison C.; Warner, Rebecca (2014). How do we know if it works? Measuring outcomes in bystander-focused abuse prevention on campuses. Psychology of Violence, 4(1), 101-115.

Eruera, M. & Dobbs, T. (2010). Taitamariki korero about intimate partner relationships. Amokura Family Violence Prevention Consortium, Accident Compensation Corporation, Auckland.

Dahlberg, Linda L., Susan B. Toal, Monica H. Swahn, and Christopher B. Behrens. (2005). Measuring Violence-Related Attitudes, Behaviors, and Influences Among Youths: A Compendium of Assessment Tools, 2nd ed., Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Payne, Diana L.; Lonsway, Kimberly A.; Fitzgerald, Louise F. (1999) Rape Myth Acceptance: Exploration of Its Structure and Its Measurement Using the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. Journal of Research in Personality, 33, 27–68