Feminist Research Methods

Feminist Measures in Survey Research

Harnois, C. E. (2012). Feminist measures in survey research. SAGE Publications.
From the publisher: How can multiracial feminism inform social science survey research? What would it mean, in practical terms, to bring an “intersectional” approach to survey design and statistical analysis? How might such an approach change our understanding of the social world? Feminist Measures in Survey Research offers a new approach for bridging feminist theory and quantitative social science research. Catherine E. Harnois demonstrates how a multiracial feminist perspective can inform virtually every aspect of the research process, from survey design and statistical modeling to the frameworks used to interpret the results. Harnois argues for an interdisciplinary approach to social research, rooted in multiracial feminist theorizing. Such an approach, she suggests, enables a critical reexamination of the assumptions embedded in everyday research practices. It also provides a new and important framework for critiquing and producing quality survey research.

Youth participation in photovoice as a strategy for community change

Wang, C. C. (2006). Youth participation in photovoice as a strategy for community change. Journal of Community Practice, 14(1-2), 147-161.

This article introduces photovoice as a participatory action research tool rooted in democratic ideals that the youth can use at the community to advocate for social change. An overview of photovoice in terms of the areas where it can be used in, such as in feminist theory and community-based participatory research, is discussed. The author also outlines a nine-step strategy to mobilize community action through photovoice including how to recruit the participants, how to introduce the photovoice method to participants, how to obtain consent and how to discuss photographs and identify themes once the photographs are taken. The article includes specific examples of projects where the youth used photovoice for community action. These projects inform the discussion part of the article. Further, ethical issues arising from the use of photovoice as a method are discussed. Such ethical issues to consider include vulnerability of youth participants and the risks that they might face in the process of taking pictures. An article ‘Photovoice Ethics’ is recommended for researchers considering using this method in research.

Wang, C.C., & Redwood-Jones, Y. (1997). Photovoice ethics. Health Education and Behavior, 24(3), 369-387.

Feminism and Method: Ethnography, Discourse Analysis, and Activist Research

Naples, Nancy A. (2003) Feminism and Method: Ethnography, Discourse Analysis, and Activist Research. New York: Routledge.

The text is divided into five parts, this book focuses on feminism in terms of methodology and the practice of reflective practice in research. It also covers activism in terms of empowerment and resistance as well as looking at the limits of participatory research for researchers using feminist methodology. Such questions that confront any researcher using the feminist approach is how to deal with the imbalance of power between the researcher and the researched, the responsibility that a researcher have for the research participants and the effects on participatory techniques on the analysis during research. The question of a distinctive feminist method of inquiry is addressed in the methodology section. By looking at feminist methodology as an approach of knowledge production the author makes recommendations on how to avoid exploitative research practices and how to counter inequities in the knowledge production process. The book is written in consultation with other feminist researchers and it draws from feminist research work by the author.

Feminist Methodology and its Discontents

Naples, N. (2007). “Feminist Methodology and its Discontents.” In W. Outhwaite, & Stephen P. Turner (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology. (pp. 547-565) London, England: SAGE Publications Ltd.

This book chapter focuses on how feminist theories of knowledge guide the choice of different methodologies and to implement how feminists implement particular methods. The chapter begins with a historical background of feminist methodology, she describes feminist theory as having emerged from diverse struggles against hegemonic forms of power and modes of knowledge production that render women’s lives and other marginal groups invisible .The author also outlines how researchers theorize from their experiences. In terms of ethics, reflexivity and objectivity is discussed in relation to feminist methodology. The author argues that by adopting reflexive approaches, feminist researchers work to reveal the inequalities and processes of domination that shape the research process. Power influences how problems are defined and how research is constructed. Further, the chapter discusses the postmodern and postcolonial challenges to feminist methodology. Finally, ways through which research can drive social change are detailed.
Ethics: the author mentions how the researcher’s theoretical assumptions influence their role in research, what they consider ethical research practices, how they interpret and implement informed consent and how they ensure the confidentiality of their research subjects.

Feminist Methodology

Eichler, M. (1997) Feminist Methodology. Current Sociology, 45-2, 9-36

Feminist Methodology: this paper begins by looking at the question of the existence of a distinct feminist methodology. It thus looks at the various approaches from qualitative to quantitative and the theoretical orientations that influence these approaches. The author then looks at feminist research and its contribution to the discipline of Sociology. Feminist scholarship is defined as research aimed at the improvement of the status of women and is done by scholars who identify themselves as feminists. A historical background that led to the emergence of feminist research is discussed in context of the approaches that various feminist researchers took in doing research; some approaches were argued to be more feminist than others. Objectivity, the need for it -or not- and the form it manifests itself in feminist research is addressed. For objectivity in research is actualized under these four principles; recognized avenues for criticism, community response, shared standards, and equality of intellectual authority.

Feminist evaluation and research: theory and practice

Brisolara, S., Seigart, D., & SenGupta, S. (Eds.). (2014). Feminist evaluation and research: theory and practice. Guilford Publications. Chapter 2: pages 42-58.

In three sections this book focuses on Feminist Theory, feminist evaluation in practice and feminist research in practice. The chapters are written by different authors who focus on areas such as application of feminist theory, measuring gender inequality and perspectives on gender power. The book argues that there is need for feminist inquiry and action based on the current realities of increased social and economic disparities, use of rape and sexual violence against women as weapons of war, and the overrepresentation of women in poverty rates. A variety of feminist theories are discussed in detail with examples from the society. Some of them include sexuality theory, Race-Based feminist theory, and postcolonial theories. The question of what methodology to use, quantitative or qualitative, in feminist research is addressed in relation to the concept of objectivity. Key principles in feminist evaluation are addressed, two of the principles are ‘Knowledge is a powerful resource that serves an explicit or implicit purpose’ and ‘discrimination based on gender is systemic and structural.’

Under the Sign of Hope: Feminist Methodology and Narrative Interpretation

Bloom, L.R. (1988) Under the Sign of Hope: Feminist Methodology and Narrative Interpretation. Albany: SUNY Press

This book is about feminist research in terms of the relationship between the researcher and the researched as well as the aims of feminist research as compared to other approaches of research. Feminist research practices and human subjectivity suggest that feminist researchers need to be more thoughtful and critical about how they analyze and interpret personal narratives of other people. The book focuses on the possibilities and limitations of feminist research in terms of the researcher-participant relationship as well as how feminist narrative interpretations may create a context in which subjectivity can be engaged as a basis for the study of women’s lives. Issues that emerge in feminist methodology such as the use of personal narratives of women as sources of data are discussed in the book. In self-reflection the author argues that a feminist researcher is also open to critical scrutiny by herself as well as her readers and other researchers.