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Campus Sexual Assaults: Fisher’s Group Research


Campuses have the highest number of women who are at risk of assaults, especially the sexual ones. Bonnie Fisher and his group carried out research under the National Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Statistics for the United States Department of Justice. There was a strong judicial and societal cause for this kind of research. The group created a conclusive abstract in regard to the paper’s needs, research criteria and development of study conclusion. The study goal to determine the nature of sexual assaults and their prevalence in the US campuses was very appropriate, considering the campus crimes rates during the period of the research.

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The researchers also covered gaps unaddressed by the previous studies by carrying out analysis on unreported cases of sexual assaults. The research showed that despite the fact that the college sexual assaults rate was very high in the USA; most of the cases went unnoticed. A high percentage of college women failed to report sexual assaults for several reasons. The groups identified the major reasons why women did not inform about sexual assaults, which included the failure to understand the legal definition of the issue by the victims, feeling of embarrassment, finding it hard to disclose the details of the case, and blame laid upon themselves by some college women in case of assaults (Neil, 1997).


Fisher and his team’s work were to serve not only their interests but those of the whole American society. The study was necessary following a constant increase in the number of campus sexual assault cases reported to the Department of Justice. The incidences caused a wide public and government concern; in particular, the Department of Justice readily sponsored the research. Most researchers carried out sexual assault studies at the community level, neglecting institutions like campuses. As a result, Fisher’s focus on colleges was prompted by the increase in the number of criminal activities including sexual assaults. In his research, Fisher said, “previous research suggests that these women are at greater risk for rape and other forms of sexual assault than women in the general population or in a comparable age group. College women might, therefore, be a group whose victimization warrants special attention,” (Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000). As proof that the research was a matter of national concern, several arms of government were involved. The United States Congress showed a lot of concern over campus criminal activities, such as sexual assaults; the government carried out several amendments to reduce college crimes.

Fisher’s study was aimed at minimizing research gaps that many researchers left in the topic. As a result, he developed two distinct surveys for data accuracy and reliability. The group highlighted several research failures in college sexual assault data, such as failure in random sampling, inability to research several ways in which college women were sexually assaulted, ill-developed questionnaire, poor collection of victims’ personal information for the study. According to Fisher and his team, the research presented the most accurate and reliable data, which provided not only college sexual assault data and trends but also the best approaches for curbing the problem. The research method successfully achieved its goal as depicted in the findings.

The research method ensured that the study generated quality data. The research incorporated two distinct strategies. Random sampling, which was computer-aided, was applied. About 4500 students were sampled in total. The students had first been contacted, then the letters containing survey questions were distributed to them to ensure that their information would be accurate and reliable. Within a fortnight, the students were contacted again over the telephone to conduct the interviews. The control research was carried out almost in the same way, except its focus was on sexual assault victims through two-stage screened questions. Fisher’s research also relied on a lot of literature material. Such a method was chosen since the random sampling method is easy to conduct and reduces bias in researches. Fisher’s selected population was manageable and large enough to produce desired results with a lot of accuracies (Ehrhardt & Tewksbury, 1999).

Like in any other good research, Fisher supported his work with reliable material. His findings were in line with many past researches from data gathered to results. However, he managed to generate more information on campus women. The application of two research methods gave the researchers a chance to compare their findings. In most studies, researchers have heavily depended on one research method. Fisher’s study, however, determined its own limitations. The author proved that fact by saying, “We should note, however, one other possible factor that might have contributed to the differences in victimization between the main and comparison components: the “context” of two surveys” (Fisher, Cullen & Turner, 2000, n.pag). Apart from this limitation, the paper did not show the graphical representation of trends in sexual assaults over the period. The research also failed to recommend strategies for curbing the sexual assault problem in the United States (Crowell & Burgess, 1996).


The research paper by Fisher’s group successfully achieved its goals. The research methodology was rationally developed. As a result, both behavioural and other sociological factors influencing the number of sexual assaults on campuses were analysed. The survey questions were effectively developed and covered all the areas of the study. Despite some limitations, the research paper was properly designed and met all the set goals. Not only the Department of Justice but also the American society at large benefited from the research.

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Crowell, A., & Burgess, W. (1996). Understanding Violence against Women by the Panel on Violence against Women. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Ehrhardt, E., & Tewksbury, R. (1999). “A Routine Activity Theory Explanation of Women’s Stalking Victimizations,” Violence against Women 5(1), 43-62. Web.

Fisher, B., Cullen, T., & Turner, G. (2000). The Sexual Victimization of College Women.. (Research Report. National Institute of Justice, Washington). Web.

Neil, G. (1997). “Advocacy Research and Social Policy“. Crime and Justice: A Review of Research. 22, 101-148.

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