Feminist Methodologies Essay example

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Feminism is a perspective not a research method, meaning there are multiple ways to approach the study of women (Reinharz, 1992). However, a central goal of feminist empiricism, standpoint epistemology, and post-modernism methodologies is that women's lives are important and must understand women from their perspective and in context (O’Donnell, 1985, in Reinharz, 1992). Feminist methodologies all share a dedication to move the focus from the masculine perspective to incorporating both men and women to advance knowledge (DeVault, 1996). Therefore, it is research about women but also for women. It aims to identify various intelligences, the different ways of knowing, and to give a say to the silent voices (DeVault, 1996). Feminist…show more content…
Harding (1987) acknowledges there are three feminist methodologies depending on the relationship between experience and theory the researcher takes. These differences are based on epistemology and the research approach, instead of data collection (Davidson & Tolich, 2003), and each methodology shapes the research methods used (Skeggs, 1995). The first is feminist empiricism developed in the 1960s-1970s. It opposed the universality of male experience, and the partial knowledge that patriarchal methods provided (Burns & Walker, 2005). Women were thus added into research to remove the sexist bias, as these researchers believed women see the world differently to men, and experiences by women bring an objective knowledge that is central to challenging stereotypes and untruths (Skeggs, 1995). This methodology seeks equal opportunities for men and women, achieving this by questioning society and using mainstream methods in a new way. The second is feminist standpoint epistemology. This position views the oppressed to be the source of knowledge as they are the ones with the experience and knowing. Researchers thus understand the world from the view of the oppressed women in that particular location (Skeggs, 1995). However, as the social control of women (race, history, and interests) differs across cultures, this methodology uses ‘insider’ investigation to enhance knowledge on a particular group by transferring all authority
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