Language presents a challenge for campus sexual assault surveys

May 28, 2015

US institutions administering a sexual assault survey developed by the Association of American Universities are facing challenges around the language they use to obtain data. Most researchers agree that specific language is necessary in order to gather accurate data, but some are concerned that survey questions might drive away students who have been victims of sexual violence. There are also concerns that students may be unaware that such surveys—often referred to as "climate surveys"—will include questions about sexual assault. Others have argued that climate surveys seem to conflate a wide range of transgressions. The US Bureau of Justice Statistics has called into question its own data because it felt the language in some survey questions was "ambiguous," leading to under-reporting. Inside Higher Ed