ERIC Number: ED423269
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Gender Issues: Analysis of Methodologies in Reports to the Secretaries of Defense and the Army. Report to Congressional Requesters.
General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Div. of National Security and International Affairs.
Several groups have examined gender-related issues affecting initial entry into training in the Department of Defense. The studies that have gotten the most attention are the Army's Senior Review Panel's report on sexual harassment, the report of the Federal Advisory Commission on Gender-Integrated Training and Related Issues, and the report of the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services. Because the groups produced somewhat different results, this study was conducted to: (1) describe how they conducted their studies; (2) determine how well the work supported making conclusions and recommendations; (3) assess the availability of documentation supporting the report; and (4) determine the extent to which the final report described the study methodology and disclosed limitations. Each of the studies used focus groups as the primary data gathering method or in conjunction with other data collection means. For this reason, the principles of focus group methodology set forth in social sciences literature were considered. The Army's Senior Review Panel's study most closely followed the methodology for conducting focus groups recommended in the literature. In addition, the use of multiple methods of data gathering, including site visits, interviews, and surveys of 22,952 individuals and the publication of this data provided ample support for making conclusions and recommendations. The Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training used focus groups, but did not systematically collect the same information from all groups, document the information generated, or explain how what was heard in focus groups and interviews led to their conclusions. The extent to which the Committee's work supports its conclusions cannot be determined. The Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services used focus groups that were sometimes too large, or too brief for meaningful participation, and they did not document the results on a group-by-group basis. This Committee summarized the opinion and perception data, but did not make recommendations or draw conclusions. One appendix discusses focus group methodology, and the other gives a summary of each of the three reports. (SLD)
Descriptors: Armed Forces, Data Collection, Females, Focus Groups, Gender Issues, Military Personnel, Research Methodology, Research Reports, Sex Bias, Sex Differences, Sex Discrimination, Sex Role
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013 (first copy free; additional copies, $2 each).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC. Div. of National Security and International Affairs.