Gender - Research Methods

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Information about Gender - Research Methods

Published on July 15, 2008

Author: maamlumanglas

Source: slideshare.net

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Report on Gender Research Methods for IR 236 Class, June 21, 2008

Method, Methodology and Epistemology BY Maam Lumanglas, 21 June 2008

Ch2: Methods, Methodology and Epistemology Gendered aspects of the KNOWING/ DOING relationship The relationship between the product of research and the process of research This is extremely important and intimately connected because what we do during the research process affects the product that we get

Gendered aspects of the KNOWING/ DOING relationship

The relationship between the product of research and the process of research

This is extremely important and intimately connected because what we do during the research process affects the product that we get

KEY ISSUES The feminist critique of “masculine” knowledge production The gendered characteristics of quantitative and qualitative methods and approaches to studying the social world Differential experience of M&F researchers and M&F respondents The significance of gender in data analysis/presentation

The feminist critique of “masculine” knowledge production

The gendered characteristics of quantitative and qualitative methods and approaches to studying the social world

Differential experience of M&F researchers and M&F respondents

The significance of gender in data analysis/presentation

Masculine Knowledge Production and the Feminist Critique 1 Traditional and Critical Approaches 2 Gendered and Other Standpoints

Traditional and Critical Approaches Historically, the focus of academic endeavor was men and male experience, and was represented as general The so called “scientific” method was unquestioned Because is allows for the objective collection of facts by a value-neutral researcher Reality is out there and the researcher can discover the truth independent of observer effects

Historically, the focus of academic endeavor was men and male experience, and was represented as general

The so called “scientific” method was unquestioned

Because is allows for the objective collection of facts by a value-neutral researcher

Reality is out there and the researcher can discover the truth independent of observer effects

Traditional and Critical Approaches Feminist challenge to an objective and value-free approach: All research involves some element of the researcher’s personhood in terms of values, opinions, interests, approaches, etc. Thus, in all research the product cannot be separated from the conditions of its production Feminist research admits this Therefore, it helps to break down the power relationship between the researcher and the researched

Feminist challenge to an objective and value-free approach:

All research involves some element of the researcher’s personhood in terms of values, opinions, interests, approaches, etc.

Thus, in all research the product cannot be separated from the conditions of its production

Feminist research admits this

Therefore, it helps to break down the power relationship between the researcher and the researched

Traditional and Critical Approaches FEMINIST CRITICISM OF THE TRADITIONAL MALE-CENTERED APPROACH TO RESEARCH The selection of sexist and elitist research topics Biased research including the use of male-only respondents Exploitative relationships between researcher and researched and within research teams

FEMINIST CRITICISM OF THE TRADITIONAL MALE-CENTERED APPROACH TO RESEARCH

The selection of sexist and elitist research topics

Biased research including the use of male-only respondents

Exploitative relationships between researcher and researched and within research teams

Traditional and Critical Approaches FEMINIST CRITICISM OF THE TRADITIONAL MALE-CENTERED APPROACH TO RESEARCH Claims to false objectivity by those who seek the scientific Inaccurate interpretation and overgeneralization of findings Including the application of theory to women from research on men

FEMINIST CRITICISM OF THE TRADITIONAL MALE-CENTERED APPROACH TO RESEARCH

Claims to false objectivity

by those who seek the scientific

Inaccurate interpretation and overgeneralization of findings

Including the application of theory to women from research on men

Traditional and Critical Approaches Feminist research should focus on the need for research to mean something, to lead to change in women’s lives Feminist research is not research about women but research for women to be used in transforming their society

Feminist research should focus on the need for research to mean something, to lead to change in women’s lives

Feminist research is not research about women but research for women to be used in transforming their society

Traditional and Critical Approaches FEMINIST RESEARCHERS SHOULD: Give continuous and reflexive attention to the significance of gender as an aspect of all social life and within research and consider further the significance of other differences between women, and the relevance of men’s lives to feminist understanding of the world Provide a challenge to the norm of “objectivity” and the assumption that knowledge can be collected in a pure, uncontaminated way

FEMINIST RESEARCHERS SHOULD:

Give continuous and reflexive attention to the significance of gender as an aspect of all social life and within research

and consider further the significance of other differences between women, and the relevance of men’s lives to feminist understanding of the world

Provide a challenge to the norm of “objectivity” and the assumption that knowledge can be collected in a pure, uncontaminated way

Traditional and Critical Approaches FEMINIST RESEARCHERS SHOULD: Value the personal and the private as worthy of study Develop non-exploitative relationships within research Value reflexivity and emotion as a source of insight as well as an essential part of the research process

FEMINIST RESEARCHERS SHOULD:

Value the personal and the private as worthy of study

Develop non-exploitative relationships within research

Value reflexivity and emotion as a source of insight as well as an essential part of the research process

Gendered and Other Standpoints 1 Feminist Empiricism Feminist philosophical critique of the traditional male-centered “scientific” epistemology Uses “traditional methods” and approaches more appropriately Challenging the way methods are used rather than challenging the methods themselves Elimination of sexist concepts and sexism in titles, language, methods, research designs, etc

1 Feminist Empiricism

Feminist philosophical critique of the traditional male-centered “scientific” epistemology

Uses “traditional methods” and approaches more appropriately

Challenging the way methods are used rather than challenging the methods themselves

Elimination of sexist concepts and sexism in titles, language, methods, research designs, etc

Gendered and Other Standpoints 2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology Views “masculine science” as bad science because it excluded women’s experience Advocates that “personal is political” Draws on Marxist ideas: Women are an oppressed class and, as such, have the ability not only to understand their own experiences of oppression but to see their oppressor’s viewpoint

2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology

Views “masculine science” as bad science because it excluded women’s experience

Advocates that “personal is political”

Draws on Marxist ideas: Women are an oppressed class and, as such, have the ability not only to understand their own experiences of oppression but to see their oppressor’s viewpoint

Gendered and Other Standpoints 2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology Research based on women’s experience provides a more valid basis for knowledge because it gives access to a wider conception of truth via the insight into the oppressor Objectivity is possible but the critical scrutiny of all the aspects of the research process is necessary to achieve objectivity

2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology

Research based on women’s experience provides a more valid basis for knowledge because it gives access to a wider conception of truth via the insight into the oppressor

Objectivity is possible

but the critical scrutiny of all the aspects of the research process is necessary to achieve objectivity

Gendered and Other Standpoints 2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology PROBLEMS Focusing on the standpoint of one particular group can imply that their perspective is more real/accurate and better than that of others If there is only one real/accurate/best experience, this can only be built upon the suppression of voices of persons with experiences unlike those who have the power to define

2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology

PROBLEMS

Focusing on the standpoint of one particular group can imply that their perspective is more real/accurate and better than that of others

If there is only one real/accurate/best experience, this can only be built upon the suppression of voices of persons with experiences unlike those who have the power to define

Gendered and Other Standpoints 2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology PROBLEMS If “more oppressed/disadvantaged” means “greater potential for knowledge” This could lead to unproductive discussion of the hierarchies of oppression How do we know who is more oppressed? Does the “most oppressed” have complete access to the truth?

2 Feminist Standpoint Epistemology

PROBLEMS

If “more oppressed/disadvantaged” means “greater potential for knowledge”

This could lead to unproductive discussion of the hierarchies of oppression

How do we know who is more oppressed? Does the “most oppressed” have complete access to the truth?

Gendered and Other Standpoints 3 Feminist Postmodernism Postmodernists reject any claim to knowledge There is not one truth but many truths, none of which is privileged A radical critique of both traditional (masculine) approaches and Feminist Standpoint Epistemology Completely rejects the possibility of the objective collection of facts

3 Feminist Postmodernism

Postmodernists reject any claim to knowledge

There is not one truth but many truths, none of which is privileged

A radical critique of both traditional (masculine) approaches and Feminist Standpoint Epistemology

Completely rejects the possibility of the objective collection of facts

Gendered and Other Standpoints 3 Feminist Postmodernism There are no universal theories and any attempt to establish a theory/truth is oppressive, whether from the perspective of men or from the perspective of women Arguing that the feminine is superior to the masculine (in relation to dualisms of rationality/irrationality , subject/object and culture/nature ), leaves the dichotomies unchallenged and therefore merely perpetuates rather than deconstructs male domination

3 Feminist Postmodernism

There are no universal theories and any attempt to establish a theory/truth is oppressive, whether from the perspective of men or from the perspective of women

Arguing that the feminine is superior to the masculine (in relation to dualisms of rationality/irrationality , subject/object and culture/nature ), leaves the dichotomies unchallenged and therefore merely perpetuates rather than deconstructs male domination

Gendered and Other Standpoints 3 Feminist Postmodernism PROBLEM If we insist that feminist meanings are no more valid than any other, how can we claim that reading rape as abuse is any more valid than the rapist’s view of the act as pleasure?

3 Feminist Postmodernism

PROBLEM

If we insist that feminist meanings are no more valid than any other, how can we claim that reading rape as abuse is any more valid than the rapist’s view of the act as pleasure?

Gendered and Other Standpoints Attempts to bring the best of these approaches Some feminists argue that we should acknowledge that there are material conditions that women share, yet recognize the importance of difference and the significance of each of the multiple identities that individuals occupy Gender is a “difference that makes a difference”

Attempts to bring the best of these approaches

Some feminists argue that we should acknowledge that there are material conditions that women share, yet recognize the importance of difference and the significance of each of the multiple identities that individuals occupy

Gender is a “difference that makes a difference”

Gendered and Other Standpoints There is not one feminist standpoint What unites feminists politically and epistemologically is not a shared belief in a homogeneous social identity or position, but a shared political interest in emancipation Despite disagreements among feminists, they share a commitment to modifying and helping to eliminate power differentials based on gender

There is not one feminist standpoint

What unites feminists politically and epistemologically is not a shared belief in a homogeneous social identity or position, but a shared political interest in emancipation

Despite disagreements among feminists, they share a commitment to modifying and helping to eliminate power differentials based on gender

Gendered Research Approaches and Interests 1 Bringing women and men back in 2 Gendered Paradigms 3 Emotion and Power

Bringing women and men back in Feminist research must go beyond the study of women to work out ways of studying for women If man is not the norm and woman is not the deviation, research should focus on both women’s and men’s experience Women need not be portrayed as victims, and men as victors Men can be victims, women can be powerful E.g., Studies on women and work in the 1960s VS research on men’s fertility and involvement in family life

Feminist research must go beyond the study of women to work out ways of studying for women

If man is not the norm and woman is not the deviation, research should focus on both women’s and men’s experience

Women need not be portrayed as victims, and men as victors

Men can be victims, women can be powerful

E.g., Studies on women and work in the 1960s VS research on men’s fertility and involvement in family life

Gendered Paradigms Paradigm War The result of male researchers being associated with quantitative methods of data collection and women researchers with qualitative methods (especially the in-depth interview) This is a misconception Feminist researchers must ensure that they have accessed all of women’s experiences Feminist researchers use not only the face-to-face interview but other quali & quantitative methods as well (FGD, questionnaire, observation, reanalysis of previously collected data, etc.)

Paradigm War

The result of male researchers being associated with quantitative methods of data collection and women researchers with qualitative methods (especially the in-depth interview)

This is a misconception

Feminist researchers must ensure that they have accessed all of women’s experiences

Feminist researchers use not only the face-to-face interview but other quali & quantitative methods as well (FGD, questionnaire, observation, reanalysis of previously collected data, etc.)

Emotion and Power/Gender in the Field The display of emotions is gendered It is less acceptable for women to display stereotypical masculine emotions like anger, and less acceptable for men to display stereotypical feminine emotions like distress Men are held responsible for bringing the income and the women for running the home, caring for the children and “working with emotions”

The display of emotions is gendered

It is less acceptable for women to display stereotypical masculine emotions like anger, and less acceptable for men to display stereotypical feminine emotions like distress

Men are held responsible for bringing the income and the women for running the home, caring for the children and “working with emotions”

Emotion and Power/Gender in the Field Relevance in Fieldwork: Women have traditionally been portrayed as more accessible and less threatening than men Women supposedly have “superior” communicative abilities, making interactions in fieldwork generally easier This is sexist and denies the hard work that both men and women do in the field

Relevance in Fieldwork:

Women have traditionally been portrayed as more accessible and less threatening than men

Women supposedly have “superior” communicative abilities, making interactions in fieldwork generally easier

This is sexist and denies the hard work that both men and women do in the field

Emotion and Power/Gender in the Field In order to be ethically sound and non-exploitative, research should be “ for ” rather than “ of ” those that are studied Researchers should not aim to represent the “other” (people that are not like them) in order to limit the possibilities of exploitation The problem is that issues of power are complex within research Authors’ suggestion: Do not assume that research respondents are always vulnerable or disempowered

In order to be ethically sound and non-exploitative, research should be “ for ” rather than “ of ” those that are studied

Researchers should not aim to represent the “other” (people that are not like them) in order to limit the possibilities of exploitation

The problem is that issues of power are complex within research

Authors’ suggestion:

Do not assume that research respondents are always vulnerable or disempowered

Gendered Analysis and Re/Presentation of Research

Re/Presentation of Research The researcher is responsible for the final analysis and presentation of the data Thus, researchers “take away the words” of respondents and have the power of editorship The “scientific” approach is also criticized because of the focus on theory-testing Instead, research should be ethnographic and describe “life as it is” from which theories should be developed

The researcher is responsible for the final analysis and presentation of the data

Thus, researchers “take away the words” of respondents and have the power of editorship

The “scientific” approach is also criticized because of the focus on theory-testing

Instead, research should be ethnographic and describe “life as it is” from which theories should be developed

Re/Presentation of Research “Grounded Theory” Developed from data and aims to be faithful to the reality of situations The researcher does not develop a theory then proves it, but allows the relevant theory to emerge Criticism: no study can be completely inductive no work is free of politics All work is theoretically grounded

“Grounded Theory”

Developed from data and aims to be faithful to the reality of situations

The researcher does not develop a theory then proves it, but allows the relevant theory to emerge

Criticism:

no study can be completely inductive

no work is free of politics

All work is theoretically grounded

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