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Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military. Volume 4. Investigations of Potential Bias in Estimates from the 2014 RAND Military Workplace Study

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Technical Report

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RAND Corporation -National Defense Research Institute Santa Monica United States

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In the summer of 2014, the RAND Military Workplace Study RMWS survey wasfielded to more than half a million members of the U.S. military, including active andreserve component members from each Department of Defense DoD service and theU.S. Coast Guard. The primary objective of the survey was to establish valid estimatesfor the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the U.S. military, and tocharacterize the nature and circumstances of these crimes and violations of militaryequal opportunity regulations. The survey questionnaire and many of the methodsused in the RMWS were substantially revised from those used in the Workplace andGender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members WGRA and the Workplace andGender Relations Survey of Reserve Component Members WGRR that were previouslyused by DoD to assess sexual assault and harassment.The 2014 RMWS was the largest such study ever conducted. With more than145,300 survey responses from active-component members, the prevalence estimatesgenerated from the study frequently had 95-percent confidence intervals that spannedless than one-half a percentage point, suggesting extraordinary precision. However,these confidence intervals, which only assess the uncertainty due to random samplingvariability, could be misleading. Sampling variability is unlikely to be the primarysource of error for our estimates. Instead, larger errors could result from several factors,including specification errors, if, for instance, our sexual assault screening module misclassifiesindividuals coverage errors, due to the inclusion criteria used in the sampleframe and survey nonresponse, if our sample weights fail to fully adjust for importantdifferences between those who chose to participate in the study and those who did not.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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