Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military - Vol. 4

Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military - Vol. 4

Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military - Vol. 4

Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military - Vol. 4

Synopsis

The Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office asked the RAND Corporation to independently assess rates of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination in the military. This volume presents the results of methodological investigations into sources of potential bias in estimates produced from the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study for active- and reserve-component members in the U.S. military.

Excerpt

Andrew R. Morral, Kristie L. Gore, and Terry L. Schell

In the spring of 2014, rand was asked by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) to conduct the 2014 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA) and the Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Reserve Component Members (WGRR), biennial surveys of the state of gender relations in the military required by Congress. the terms of the project required that rand make any necessary changes to the measurement approach, sampling plan, and analytic plan to ensure that the survey results would represent the best available information on the prevalence of criminal sexual assault and military equal opportunity (MEO) sexual harassment and gender discrimination violations in the U.S. military.

In consultation with experts at rand and other institutions, a scientific advisory board, the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program officials from each service, rand completely redesigned the survey questions used to assess each of the principal outcomes, developed a new approach to sample weighting designed to reduce nonresponse bias, and designed a follow-up study of survey nonrespondents to examine whether their exposure to sexual assault and sexual harassment differs systematically from the weighted sample of respondents.

Because results from the 2014 wgra were required for a report to the President on Department of Defense (DoD) progress addressing sexual assault—to be delivered no later than December 1, 2014—RAND had to make these changes and field, analyze, and report results on the survey in a span of eight months. This left little time for pretesting many of the changes we introduced to the survey design beyond some basic assessments of whether the target population correctly understood and was able to tolerate the new survey questions.

Instead of pretesting, in several cases we were able to design the study to include experiments and substudies that could be examined after survey fielding to evaluate the performance of the new survey instrument and other aspects of the study design. This fourth volume of the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military series presents the results of these experiments and additional analyses we conducted to evaluate the quality and credibility of the findings that the new survey design pro-

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