Researching Students’ Experiences of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and Harassment: Reflections and Recommendations from Surveys of Three UK HEIs

Anna Louise Bull, Marian Duggan, Louise Livesey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the US, ‘campus climate surveys’ are an established measure of prevalence of, and students’ awareness of and attitudes to sexual and gender-based violence and harassment (SGBVH). They are regularly carried out by universities to assist SGBVH prevention and responses. Such surveys have only recently started to be carried out within UK higher education institutions (HEIs) and the three authors of this article all independently undertook such surveys in different HEIs. Comparing our experiences of undertaking these surveys across three HEIs allows us to explore similarities and differences in our experiences of this type of research, in particular the challenges which arose in carrying out such research in three very different types of HEI. This article presents reflections on the methodological and political challenges of such work. We discuss our rationales for initiating these projects, the methodological approaches we employed, the governance structures navigated in pursuing the research and the difficulties that arose in conducting and reporting on the research. This article will be of interest to academics, activists, and policy-makers—domestically and internationally—who wish to carry out such research. By comparing approaches, we draw attention to issues and potential impediments of relevance to others wanting to embark on similar work within their own HEI.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2022


  • sexual harassment
  • higher education
  • campus climate survey
  • sexual violence
  • united kingdom
  • gender-based violence
  • Students

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