Bullying among children has long been acknowledged as commonplace, especially in school settings, as is evident from accounts of bullying among English school boys by Thomas Hughes (1857) in Tom Brown's Schooldays. In many respects the situation at school for many children has not changed over the last 150 years. What has changed, however, is the degree of attention being paid to the issue of school bullying, both in the press and in educational and research journals.
Methods of Investigation
This is by far the most commonly used method for investigating the prevalence of bullying and other aspects of the phenomenon. Probably the most frequently used instrument of this kind is that developed by Olweus and subsequently modified for an English language version. Another widely used self-report questionnaire is the Peer Relations Questionnaire or PRQ, which has been used with over 40,000 schoolchildren in Australasia and in other English-speaking countries (Almeida, 1999, pp. 67-78).
Interviewing children about bullying is sometimes undertaken, for example, in studies by Rigby and Slee (1990) and Williams, Chambers, Logan, and Robinson (1996). This option has some advantages. One can ensure, through further clarification, that the respondent understands the question being asked (as opposed to misreading or misinterpreting a written question); one can assess the extent to which the respondent is genuinely and sincerely engaged in the exercise; and, most important of all, one can obtain information from children who could not read a written questionnaire (Boulton & Smith, 1994, pp. 315 329).
A Critical Evaluation
A convenient way of obtaining data in children's bullying behavior is to ask class teachers to rate the behavior of each child. For children in primary schools in which teachers see a great deal of children in their class this is a viable option. ...