Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Susan Caringella-MacDonald

Second Advisor

Dr. David Hartmann

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Crawford

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


A review of the rape literature and current assessment suggests that research done in this highly sensitive area is especially vulnerable to response effects. Comparisons between studies is problematic due to vast differences in the conceptualizations of rape, the wording and context of the questions used to solicit data as well as the method of data collection. I created a new rape prevalence questionnaire with the intent of decreasing response effects. I conducted 15 semi-structured pretest interviews with female Western Michigan University students and three pilot tests, in which 30 telephone interviews were completed, 30 personal interviews were completed, and 66 mailed questionnaires were returned.

The findings suggest that participants prefer not to use the telephone to participate. In addition to the information solicited from the questionnaire, most participants are interested in information regarding prevention strategies. Future research should include the collection of more qualitative data from both men and women regarding their perceptions of sex, consent, intoxication, and rape, and sexual assault. In addition, further investigation into the management of emotions by rape researchers is badly needed.

Included in

Sociology Commons