ERIC Number: EJ1173298
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Unreadable and Underreported: Can College Students Comprehend How to Report Sexual Assault?
Taylor, Zachary W.
Journal of College Student Development, v59 n2 p248-253 Mar-Apr 2018
Longitudinal research has suggested that sexual assault on college campuses is widespread and grossly underreported. To date, scholars have not examined a seemingly commonsense aspect of sexual assault reporting: the readability of the reporting instructions themselves; therefore, in this study the author examined the readability--using four commonly used measures--of sexual assault reporting instructions of 100 four-year institutions in the United States to answer this research question: Can college students of average reading comprehension ability read and comprehend sexual assault reporting instructions? The population of interest for this study is all 4-year public and private nonprofit colleges and universities, representing a sampling frame of 2,386 institutions in the United States. All textual data were extracted directly from each institution's web domain using Readability Studio text analysis software. Sexual assault reporting instructions were located using each institution's embedded search tool on its website, using the search phrases "report sexual assault" or "report sexual violence." Results concluded that college students of average reading comprehension ability likely cannot read instructions for reporting a sexual assault provided by 4-year, public and nonprofit private institutions. The average sexual assault reporting instructions are written at a grade level of 15.4 (roughly a third-year college reading level), and 81% of all institutions provided sexual assault reporting instructions written at or above a first-year college reading level.
Descriptors: College Students, Sexual Abuse, Rape, Victims of Crime, Disclosure, Reading Comprehension, Guidelines, Readability, Computer Software, Content Analysis, Web Sites, Readability Formulas
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Flesch Kincaid Grade Level Formula