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How important is this information to improve the lives of women and girls?

Last edited: December 20, 2019

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Before commencing data collection activities, consider how learning this information will improve the lives of women and girls. Extremely vulnerable populations – such as refugees and IDPs – are often subjected to many data collection activities (assessments, surveys, interviews, focus group discussions, etc.). Given the dearth of information on these populations and even fewer programme impact studies, additional research and M&E can be useful but must be carefully considered. Ask yourself, do you need to know this information (to continue programme funding, advocate for more funds, extend programme reach, etc.) or is it just nice to know (in which case, undertaking such an exercise should be reconsidered)? Are the benefits of collecting this information higher than the (potential) risks associated with it?


Box 4: Example: Case study for developing a research objective.

To develop a strong research objective from your ideas, consider:

  • Do I know the field and its literature well?
  • What are the important research questions in my field?
  • What areas need further exploration?
  • Could my study fill a gap? Lead to greater understanding?
  • Has a great deal of research already been conducted in this topic area?
  • Has this study been done before? If so, is there room for improvement?
  • Is the timing right for this question to be answered?

You are a researcher working with an NGO that runs women’s centers in an IDP camp in Country A. The Head of Programs at the NGO has told you that their social workers working in the Women’s Centers are seeing a lot of cases of women and girls who have experienced rape and other forms of sexual violence when they were displaced. However, women are reporting cases that happened more than 72 hours in the past (the cut-off period for receiving post-exposure prophylaxis and emergency contraception), limiting the medical response they can receive. Social Workers are providing individual psychosocial support services and livelihoods training to survivors of violence at the Center in the camp.

After conducting a literature review to understand what is known about the topic and talking to the program staff on the ground, some potential research objectives could be:


  • To understand the barriers women (including those with intersecting identities race, ethnicity, disability and age) face in accessing services for sexual violence within 72 hours to improve reporting time
  • To understand what other forms of GBV are common in the population that are not being reported
  • To learn about the quality of GBV response services being delivered
  • To understand the impact of psychosocial support and livelihoods programs on the survivor’s wellbeing
  • To understand how participating in GBV survivor support programs affects stigma against survivors
  • To understand how GBV support program could be rolled out to host populations


Some potential research questions based on the above objectives include:

  • What barriers do women in the camp face when accessing GBV support services?
  • How do these barriers differ depending on the type of violence experienced?
  • How do these barriers differ depending on the identity of the woman or girl?
  • How has psychosocial wellbeing changed for participants in a psychosocial support and livelihoods program?
  • Has participation in a livelihoods program affected rates of IPV within a household?