Research Critique

Research Critique





Theproblem of violent relationships is challenging to understand becauseit presents a situation where investigators do not establish the typeof relationship and the extent of violence involved. To solve casesinvolving violent relationships, it is important that investigatorsunderstand the dynamics of the relationships and the factorsaffecting the relationships. To explore more understanding of violentrelationships, Kaukinen,Gover and Hartmancarried out a research to examine the experiences of women in casualand exclusive relationships between young adults in colleges. Thefocus of the study was to explore the experiences of women in twocategories of intimate partner relationships involving the youngadult college students. The two categories are the casualrelationships and exclusive relationships. Thispaper presents an objective critique of the research in the publishedjournal article with a view of understanding the problems presentedand how they were addressed by the findings. Moreover, this paperanalyzes the research problems, methods and critiques the findings ofthe research by Kaukinen,Gover and Hartman.


Theresearch explores the experiences of college women in casual violentrelationships and those in mutually violent relationships. The studycompares the experiences and attitudes of women in the two types ofrelationships to determine the differences in their circumstances.One of their objectives was to find out the extent of partnerviolence victimization and its prevalence in the college casual andexclusive relationships (Kaukinenet al, 2012).The second objective was to determine the nature of the violenceexperienced in these relationships, whether one way or both. Thirdlythe authors sought to know the influence of college dating context ofthe intimate partner violence, especially for women.

Toachieve their research objective, the authors involve participantsdrawn from their target population, the college students. By doingso, the researchers sought to establish their information based onthe experiences of the women in college dating relationships andexperiencing the targeted behavior. The methods used and the analysisof the research were all focused towards answering the researchquestion and examining the three objectives. The studycomprehensively reviews related literature to offer knowledge aboutintimate partner violence and experiences of women in suchrelationships. This gives the authors a proper way of exploring theexperiences in the reported data to verify their explored literaturereview.

TheResearch Problem

Theproblem being explored is effective in examining the experiences andprevalence of intimate partner violence in college. This gives a wayof understanding the impact of the college context of the extent ofviolence experienced by women in intimate partner relationships.Therefore, it is important to understand the parameters of healthyand unhealthy relationships in young adulthood and later adolescentstages in life. The authors examine the personal, social andrelational domains of the young individuals that are affected by thestatus of their relationships. The impact of the context of therelationship and the attitudes of the young people determines theextent of the violent conduct of the partners.

Theauthors explore the problem by examining the prevalence of the causesof violence in intimate college relationships among students. Theresearch gives them the rates of occurrence and the nature of thecases reported. They therefore look at the number of women beingaffected in order to determine the prevalence of violence on women,either as perpetrators or victims. In addition, the study exploresthe problem of intimate partner violence in terms of severity andpersistence of violence perpetrated or experienced by college women.


Thisresearch uses a quantitative method to gather and analyze the dataabout the experiences of women in college intimate relationships. Thestudy aimed at obtaining data that will be used to measure datingviolence victimization and penetration among intimate datingrelationships. To achieve their objective, the researchers used asurvey method to gather the required data and quantitative figures.The survey was administered to students from two of the largestuniversities in the southeastern. The study took place between themonth of august and December in 2005 (Kaukinenet al, 2012).To involve these students, proper documentation was done to studentsafter explanation of full understanding of sharing their confidentialinformation.

Thesurvey involved a sample of 546 students with a diversecharacteristics based on their demographics. Out of the 546 students,65% were white, 14% of them were African Americans, 12% wereHispanics, and the rest were students with Asian origin (Kaukinenet al, 2012).The racial diversification was done to make the study more objectiveto the population as the sample was being taken. At the same time,age was a factor considered in the sample. Out of the 546 students,66% were below the age of 20 years (Kaukinenet al, 2012).Out of the students engaged in the survey, 30% of them admitted beingin casual relationships while 70% were in exclusive relationships. Atthe same time majority of 74% were raised in two-parent families withat least 30% of them responding that they experienced childhoodviolence in their life (Kaukinenet al, 2012).

Themethodology used variables that were drawn from other studies asdiscussed in the literature review. This gave the researchers theparameters to explore the problem with a view of answering theresearch question. Among the variables were those for victimizationand penetration. Some of the variables in this case include violentactions, beating slaps and violent sexual acts. The respondents werealso requested to provide the status of their relationships by beingasked in the survey (Kaukinenet al, 2012).To answer this question, they were provided with variables like, notdating, steadily dating, occasionally dating and exclusively dating.These answers were used in the research to determine the type ofrelationships as per the research objectives whether casualrelationship or exclusive dating.

Contributionto literature

Theresearch provides valuable information for research by focusing on aspecific problem and the specific behavior of the young people. Theresearch examines the prevalence and persistence of violence amongcollege students engaged in intimate partner relationships. Theresearch provides the basis of understanding whether the violenceamong these students is perpetrated by the young people in collegerelationships. In addition, research provides important informationabout the severity of violence in dating relationships of the youngpeople. This information is important for other researchersunderstand, especially when examining the problem of violence inintimate partner dating relationships.

Inaddition, the research gives strong findings about the perpetratorsand the victims of violence in the relationships of young people. Theresearch finds out that women were not only the victims of violencein intimate partner relationships, but also the perpetrators. Thefindings showed that women were also the perpetrators of some of theviolence in the college relationships of young people. This givesdifferent perspectives to people who study violence, especiallylegal, psychologists, sociologists and criminal justice people. Thisis because the findings portray the contrary, to the belief that onlywomen are the victims of violent relationships.

Thestudy further provides information for literature about the extent ofviolence in the casual and exclusive relationships among people. Theresearch shows that many women are victims and perpetrators ofphysical violence. In this research, 39% of women reported havingperpetrated violence against their partners. On the other hand, only29% of women reported to have been victims of violence from theirdating partners. This finding gives important information about theperception that women are the only victims of violent relationships.The research further provides information that some relationshipshave women being both the perpetrators and the victims.


Whilethe research focuses on research about violence in intimaterelationships, I find it inconclusive on the issue of perpetratorsand victims. The research does not give a conclusive finding aboutwhether the perpetrators of violence were at the same time being thevictims. It would be important to find out if the people whoinflicted violence on their partners were doing it after beingvictims or where alone doing it. This would help to analyze whetherviolence by a partner was as a result of the other partner’sviolent conduct, or was just a one-sided practice.

Inaddition, the research was not conclusive about the causes of theviolence observed in the intimate partner relationships among theyoung people. It would be interesting to understand the real causesof the violent actions against each other. This is because thereasons for violent actions against the women by the men may not bethe same reason for the same against men by women. This could havebeen added to the research survey tools by asking the reason forviolent action, when the respondent indicated to be a perpetrator ofviolence. This information would open the research to provideimportant information about the specific actions of violence.

However,the research about the nature of violence in intimate partnerrelationships provides a better concept of understanding the problem.The research gives a clear research objective that is explored in athree-tier objective of the same problem. The findings suggest thatviolence is more likely to occur in the mutually violentrelationships than those that a partner is only a perpetrator. At thesame time, the research gives important information for literatureand is informative about the problem.


Kaukinen,C., Gover, A.R., &amp Hartman, J.L. (2012). “College women’sexperiences of dating violence in casual and exclusiverelationships,” AmericanJournal of Criminal Justice,vol. 37, no. 2, pp. 146–162, 2012.