Research Portfolio Post 4: Article Comparison

Ba and Bhopal claim that there is a significant need for improved care for survivors and highlight their trepidations about the long-term impact of wartime sexual violence on survivors, and their families[1]. Through analyzing data from 3075 different research papers in the field and almost 400 reference lists and personal communications by use of Microsoft Excel and MetaXL, Ba and Bhopal conducted the “systematic review” of data from 20 different case studies from 6 different countries. They also used mixed-method appraisal tools to ascertain the health results of wartime sexual assault on civilians since 1981. The paper predominantly draws on quantitative data, along with analysis of existing mixed method studies.

Similarly, Woldetsadik claims that Ugandan women suffer from “untreated trauma, lack access to mental health care, and face economic hardships.[2]” She utilises a “trauma processing” model by Remer and Ferguson to explore long-term impacts, in addition to semi-structured interviews with Ugandan women and Ugandan government surveys. Additionally, Woldetsadik makes use of a dataset known as GEO-SVAC, which provides an event-based geographic dataset of conflict events and presents a mix of qualitative and quantitative data to review the variety of different sources she makes use of.

Both of the research papers are arguably neo-positivist in the approach to their methodology, by relying heavily on case studies and statistical analysis. Despite their differences in focus and overall methods, they come to relatively similar conclusions about the topic they are discussing – stating the importance of improving care for survivors of sexual assault in conflict.

These papers relate to my research because they represent the angle and the kind of approach that I want to utilise in my own research paper. I believe that these two works provide a very clear nod to the existing conversation in the field and provide me with an introduction to the kind of data and methods that are currently pertinent to research in this area. In addition to this, it presents an insight into what kind of research is lacking in the field, which I believe is discourse on the post-trauma care framework.

[1]Ba and R. S. Bhopal, “Physical, Mental and Social Consequences in Civilians Who Have Experienced War-Related Sexual Violence: A Systematic Review (1981-2014),” Public Health 142 (2017): 121–135.

[2]Mahlet Woldetsadik, Long-Term Effects of Wartime Sexual Violence on Women and Families: The Case of Northern Uganda (RAND Corporation, 2018), accessed September 20, 2019,

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  1. Paroma, I think the research papers you choose present an interesting background for your topic. They provide a good example about the conversation currently taking place involving sexual assault and conflict, and present possible methodologies used to study and understand the relationship. I think it is important as we begin researching and creating our own research questions and topics to ask what we see missing or is something that we can clarify upon within our topics. I think you do a great job with this when you point out that the studies do not talk about post-trauma care framework. I think this is a really great starting point to delve into with more research, especially being mindful of the methods other researchers use to study and explain their findings. You said that the papers heavily rely on quantitative data, but are there other report or studies you can find with qualitative data? And are there other studies that are interpretivist rather than neo-positivists? These questions could possibly give you another perspective to consider while beginning research. Great job and good luck on your future research!

  2. Hi Paroma! One of the things I most enjoyed about your post was your discussion of how the sources dealt with databases/surveys that included massive amounts of qualitative and quantitative methodology. Getting an idea this early in the research process about how to grapple with datasets that could probably be analyzed in countless ways is probably going to be really useful when you start trying to find data yourself. I am still curious about the broader school of thought that these articles fall within. Although both neo-positivist you mention that they have different focuses but ultimately come to the same conclusion. When defining your camps for the literature review, it may be worth thinking about which of those features matter: the broad focus, the method employed, the general conclusion, or maybe something else entirely.

  3. Paroma — you’ve identified two articles that are relevant to your research and you do a good job discussing them in terms of the main methodological approach that each article takes. Beyond the key claims that you identify in each article, what other methodological aspects are important in these pieces? For instance, what key independent variables are tested? What kind of overall explanation does each article offer for puzzles like yours (such that you could think about whether those explanations are at the center of one or more of the conceptual groupings of scholars that you could analyze in your literature review)?

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