Feminist methodology in social science research
This paper examines the typical part of a feminist methodological analysis in societal scientific discipline research. The Introduction outlines both the historical and future positions. The paper is so divided into two distinguishable parts ( 1 ) Feminist Research – What this means in footings of societal scientific discipline research, the methods used together with the challenges and picks involved. Reasoning with the epistemic issues raised by making feminist research ( 2 ) considers the different positions and review of conventional research. This illustrated by appropriate instance survey illustrations. Most research workers in sociology tend to hold that there is no individual distinguishable women’s rightist methodological analysis. There is more a corporate consciousness that was born from feminist motions in the 1960 ‘s and 1970 ‘s where a group of adult females talked openly, developing a manner of enquiry that challenged the conventional norms of research. These adult females jointly became known as women’s rightists and enlightened persons that formed a new footing for cognition. Although the original plants were conducted outside of an academic scene, it shortly became evident that there was a deficiency of feminine representation in mainstream sociology or societal scientific discipline. ( Devault 1996 ) . Over the last 25 old ages female sociologists have made important progresss in forcing back the biass against adult females and in general construing the workings of society. Feminism was basically born from a motion and a belief in deciding gender inequalities.
Within the general claims to male laterality in societal theory, three challenges have emerged ( I ) the unfavorable judgment against that of female cognition and its ‘ inability to show equal work that illustrates scientific or indifferent cognition. This resulted in women’s rightists coming under examination in order to show abilities to rationalize cognition, execute confirmation, subjectiveness and freedom from political prejudice. Second, how different influences shaped adult females ‘s lives. Examples cited included that of “ cultural divisions, societal divisions and power dealingss ” ( Caroline RamazanoC§lu 2004 ) . The danger here is one of pigeonholing and merely branding adult females as one gender that provides a unvarying consequence. The 3rd challenge intertwines that of cognition and gender whereby in kernel adult females are taken for granted.
In 1987 Sandra Harding ( Harding 1987 ) provided penetration into the difference between that of Method, Methodology and Epistemology. She equated Epistemology to that of a theory of cognition with the aim of replying specific inquiries. Further, that there are two distinguishable epistemologies viz. that of a ‘Feminist empiricist philosophy ‘ and a ‘Feminist Standpoint ‘ . The empirical portion is that where a response is provided to bias and traditional responses ( Harding 1987 ) . Whereas, point of view refers to a specific feminist sentiment founded upon an account of cognition. In order to understand and finish a feminist point of view the reader needs to go more involved with the “ rational and political battles that a adult females ‘s experience is built upon Sandra Harding ‘s positions on Standpoint Epistemology focused more on the constructs of objectiveness. Harding advocated a new construct of ‘strong objectiveness ‘ , as opposed to that of the weak construct which she referred to as ‘objectivism ‘ . She stated that objectiveness must incorporate all societal values and involvements from the research that is carried out. She was cognizant that certain societal values could adversely impact the research and do possible deformations. As such Harding viewed traditional research constructs and objectiveness as the denial of civilizations best beliefs ( cognition ) , whereas the new version to the full embraces both political and historical beginnings.
Harding believed that her new theory holds cogency, peculiarly from the feminist point of view i.e. adult females are portion of an laden group and as such they approach research jobs in a less arbitrary manner. They are more likely to measure theories that might otherwise be overlooked or denied by more traditional constructs or point of views. Harding provinces that that the point of view has a significant foundation in the empirical experiences of adult females and although this may non represent a foundation of cognition, however it does make a more diverse part taking towards increased objectiveness. ” ( Stanley 1990 ) .
Historically the most common look of female action has been associated with that of release and the emancipation of adult females. This has ranged from the construct of extremist insisting, to clear uping the intent of research and finally to transmutation in footings of political action. It was Maria Mies that proposed feminist research should be consistent with the overall political ends and aspirations of adult females. Hence, there needs to be a full integrating of societal and political ; action appropriate to the emancipation of adult females. ( Mary Margaret Fonow, Beyond methodological analysis: feminist scholarship as lived research 1991 ) .
Feminist research can basically be defined as research conducted by what has become known as ‘feminists ‘ , basically pulling upon experiences of adult females in what is perceived as a male dominated universe. The aim of research is based the creative activity of utile cognition in order to do added parts by different positions of idea. Feminism is based upon a practice of adult females sharing the same docket with work forces and get the better ofing the battle relation to gender, race and category. The foundation of this was truly built in the 1980 ‘s. Feminist research has since become more focussed on how the lives of adult females have become materially altered by work forces and the development of schemes in order to defy this procedure ( Mary Maynard 2005 ) .
Feminist research in general footings has had a deficiency of understanding to what exactly defines women’s rightist theory and pattern. As such there is non truly a individual unifying theory. It was Patricia Maguire ( Breyton 1997 ) that offered the premiss that feminism is ( I ) An apprehension and belief that adult females face some signifier of subjugation ( two ) A committedness to understand female subjugation and development in all of its signifiers ( three ) A committedness towards riddance of all signifiers of female subjugation. ( Breyton 1997 ) .
FEMINIST METHODS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: Feminist methods may hold four chief aims: ( I ) the ability to bring out and get the better of types of prejudice in research ( two ) The ability to observe and make societal alteration ( three ) a construct or method to exemplify human diverseness ( four ) An recognition of the certificates and place of the research worker. In order to make societal alteration any method must include and esteem the participants as alteration agents. The method needs to admit diverseness and that non all adult females see the societal universe in the same manner e.g. the method attack to interviews and enquiry that explore the experiences of different faiths. ( Sprague 2005 ) i.e. grounds has been presented to back up theory presented.
Feminist surveies use both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, although qualitative research is more readily used. The term methodological analysis relates to more of a procedure of how to carry on research i.e. what you need to choose, empirical survey of what to detect, what to mensurate and how to carry on analysis. The method id more related to the precise technique of transporting out the survey. ( Sprague 2005 ) A common premise has been that methodological analysis and epistemology are indistinguishable. This has created a comparatively narrow proficient attack towards transporting out and carry oning research. The construct of methodological analysis basically opens the manner for carry oning pick i.e. the deductions of what we should make and how we might make it. It facilitates inquiries on informations aggregation and assimilation. As such methodological analysis paves the manner for critical contemplation and creativeness within the societal scientific disciplines.
THE CHALLENGES AND CHOICES: Feminist research workers have taken really different attacks to the acceptance of methodological analysis. As such they have adopted differing means to the acquisition and proof of cognition. This has tended to tilt towards a more scientific and evidentiary base of showing cognition. This has avoided the more serious challenges of rebuting feminist research and rejecting it on the footing that it contains no scientific method. The illustration being the survey into kid maltreatment, as such it ne’er becomes a clear cut instance but contains many complex sunglassess of Grey and is about ever debatable. In many state of affairss feminist research workers are peculiarly vulnerable in this respect. ( Caroline RamazanoC§lu 2004 ) .
In current footings it is of import to recognize that a big figure of adult females are employed in scientific discipline, technology and academic places. As such they offer a diverse scope of sentiments on a broad scope of capable affair. The female places tend to hold two distinguishable types of focal point ( I ) that engaged with the scientific disciplines and ( two ) that focused upon society. Research workers have emerged from former marginalised groups and as such have had a profound manner of altering the form of enquiry and thought procedure. There are still those nevertheless that holds the sentiment that feminism is a menace to the objectiveness of scientific discipline. Sandra Harding pointed out that if all cognition is socially constructed it will present a major menace and challenge to scientific discipline. For illustration with most scientists “ the impression that their positions of the natural universe are subjective is counter to their professional preparation ” . ( Wyer 2008 ) It is of import to observe that the women’s rightist research workers have made a important impact over the last 30 old ages. This has included a important part to methodological analysiss in the societal scientific disciplines ; peculiarly reacting to the challenge of how adult females have been silenced in both society and research. The women’s rightists have obtained important success in conveying about societal alteration and making a grade of equity in both professional and personal lives. Whilst much of the success has been in the first universe states, there still remains a important challenge for adult females in the 3rd universe and those emerging economic systems. In peculiar the native adult females of Africa, the adult females in the Islamic communities and others in the emerging states like India and China.
Leading Contributions: Early parts in the 1970 ‘s were made by feminist sociologists that include the likes of Marcia Millman and Rosebeth Moss Kanter.[ 1 ]They made a figure of guesss in sociology that focused on issues or jobs with bing usage of sociological methods. In kernel they objected to how premises to sociological theories manifested themselves. They challenged the empirical positions of male sociologists and demonstrated a new vision as seen strictly from the female position. ( Harding 1987 ) .
The research worker and writer Carol Gilligan[ 2 ][ In a different voice: Psychological Theory and Women ‘s Development ] agreed the point that conventional theoreticians are incorrect to disregard the wisdom of adult females on evidences of lower adulthood. Gilligan asked that we listen to adult females in their different positions and non seek to compartmentalise them but recognition adult females for the important parts over many subjects in the scientific disciplines and the humanistic disciplines. ( Harding 1987 ) .
Evelyn Fox Keller[ 3 ]had completed a great trade of land interrupting work that exposed sexual prejudice in the scientific disciplines. She predicted that adult females needed to be careful in rejecting constructs of objectiveness and reason as they would non be regarded as the icons for making a new frontier but were more likely to be doomed and marginalized outside of the political mainstream. Fox herself subsequently found herself in the quandary of holding to take between feminism and scientific discipline. Fox stated that the more we questioned methodological analysis the greater it generated documents on epistemology and as such methodological analysis became an end-in-itself. ( Winnie Tomm 1989 ) .
Maria Mies[ 4 ]( McDonald 2004 ) concluded that “ the quantitative study method is itself non free from androcentric prejudice ” , further “ there is a contradiction between the prevailing theories of societal scientific discipline, methodological analysis and the political purposes of adult females ” ( McDonald 2004 ) . Meis argued that if we revert to these old traditional constructs they will once more be turned into instruments of repression – “ new vino should non be poured into old bottles ” ( McDonald 2004 )
One of the most influential people in the field of point of view epistemology was that of Dorothy E Smith. Smith is celebrated throughout the universe as a developer of theories and as such she has advanced the academic place from a feminist point of view. Smith developed theories and constructs around the capable affair of gender and peculiarly that of the ‘ruling texts ‘ of adult male. She advocated that many texts were compiled from the male position and as such were responsible for specifying gender. She farther advocated that such regulations written by work forces determined the regulations of society and defined the manner in which we live and conduct our lives. Amongst the books that Smith referenced were the US Constitution, The Holy Bible and the Communist Manifesto. Smith stated that the opinions defined in many of these books were wholly opposite to the mode in which adult females conducted their lives today. Such obsolescence creates the manner for transmutation of thought and alteration in these countries. – Ryan B Johnson ( Johnson, Standpoint Epistemology Summary 2010 ) .
EPISTOMELOGICAL ISSUES OF FEMINIST RESEARCH:
Epistemology of feminist research loosely refers to the value of cognition or the scientific method applied in order to carry on the research. An illustration being that of empirical or qualitative research. One of the of import issues relates to the fluctuation between quantitative and qualitative techniques in feminist research. The historical association that exists between the two research methods have been documented ; nevertheless the logical associations remain debateable. As such feminist methodological analysis can non be steadfastly anchored to either cantonment of quantitative or qualitative manner of research.
Gilligan[ 5 ]pointed out that qualitative research represents the voice that is most consistent with female research values. Equally the research workers frequently use the position of a ‘different voice ‘ , this being done in order to supply the differentiation between that of a male opinionative voice. The female voice seeking to be far more apparent in specifying in the definition of connexion and relationships. Mie ‘s stated that because adult females have been good versed in repression they have greater objectiveness than work forces in this capable country. This is apparent when they are involved in researching exploited groups. In kernel adult females have more empathy and are able to better understand the of import issues in a different visible radiation or position. ( Janet Holland 2010 ) .
There is besides the construct of pigeonholing all adult females as women’s rightists. Many female research workers have been chiefly trained in traditional qualitative methodological analysiss and despite the fact that they may hold surrogate or other positions are most likely to return to the traditional methods of transporting out research. Psychologist Laurie Rudman has completed research that has changed the positions on negative stereotyping of adult females. Rudman ‘s research found that negative stereoptypes of adult females are really widespread and even include educated immature adult females. Her research further substantiated that “ strong independent adult females have fulfilling romantic lives and their work forces are happy excessively – as opposed to the widely held convention that women’s rightists are adult male detesting vixens ” ( Branson 2007 )
Female research workers have made a figure of typical parts to feminist methodological analysiss in societal scientific discipline research. It remains questionable nevertheless as to whether a distinguishable women’s rightist methodological analysis exists, instead it is an attack to which female research workers have enlivened the argument by conveying fresh positions and valuable new penetration, thereby disputing traditional methods. There have been some outstanding parts to societal scientific discipline research from taking female research workers – “ Goelting and Fernstermaker,[ 6 ]1995 ; Orlans and Wallace, 1994 and Thorpe and Laslett, 1997 ” are to call but a few. ( DeVault 1999 )
Many sociologists agree that the original feminist motion had a nucleus aim of altering the method of consciousness that was historically rooted in constructs of empirical research. Women became more cognizant of an alternate base for cognition and the construct of presenting ‘the adult females ‘s experience ‘ into the methodological analysis deployed. The early motion thereby highlighted the skip of this position. In add-on, the group highlighted the racism that was faced by African/Americans in the USA and how white adult females had an advantage in obtaining academic research occupations. From these early beginnings female research workers have learnt to react to the issues in societal scientific disciplines and better the overall field of enquiry.
The female attack has been compared to that of ‘excavators ‘ ( DeVault 1999 ) where female research workers have been used to place spreads or losing constituents in research or that which has been ignored. The alone voice of adult females frequently lends itself to a more empathic attack to those delicate research countries i.e. kid maltreatment, drug or substance maltreatment, juvenile offense etc. This frequently consequences in a more holistic and complete question than would otherwise hold been obtained from the traditional male dominated attack. ( DeVault 1999 ) .
The emancipation of adult females in societal scientific discipline would supply adult females with an increased cognition of their ain societal fortunes within society. Any feminist methodological analysis hence needs to be grounded in objectiveness in societal scientific discipline. The feminist motion, in accomplishing broad values, must non itself become an instrument of repression against the male community. As such the construct goes beyond methodological analysis to more of a procedure of transformational alteration and do research more inclusive and nonsubjective. Feminist research is hence aimed at the release of adult females. In accomplishing these aims they increase the base of cognition and add value to the overall method attack in societal research and enquiry. ( Mary Margaret Fonow, 1991 ) . “ All the nice people, male and female, are women’s rightists. The lone people who are non women’s rightists are those who believe that adult females are inherently inferior or undeserving of the regard and chance afforded work forces. Either you are a women’s rightist or you are a sexist/misogynist. There is no box marked ‘other’.- Ani DiFranco ” . ( M. P. Johnson 2005 ) .