Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber, Boston College, talks to Patrick Brindle, Research Methods Publisher at SAGE Publications, about feminist research methods. The in...
Tags: Feminist, Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber
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Conceptualisation: The concept of feminism means different things to people in different times, places and situations. Arguably, for some people like me, feminism is not necessarily associated with being gendered as a woman. It is treated as a concept, which guides women, men and children in the fight for the rights of the less dominant groups in society; the most violated and/or abused groups, etc In this situation, the concept of feminism works to blur the thick boundaries between/among groups of people gendered as men and women. It functions also to blur those boundaries, which define wealth, race, class, etc This means that the concept of feminism does not co-opt men into women issues. Rather, it takes on board people regardless of gender to fight for the cause of any group or individual persons, whose rights are violated or are at risk. Yet, it is not a blind concept because it pays particular attention to special groups of people such as women, homosexuals, children, etc. Women are not homogenous. Some women treat women issues exclusively. They refuse working with men/boys whether as survivors, perpetrators, activists, etc Their feminism is all about women issues. We have to respect that standpoint.
Research methods: Feminists are free to choose methodologies, which work well for them as investigators, and which work well for the subject under investigation. Qualitative research might not work in certain situations or for certain issues. For example, when dealing with issues on a large scale, it might help to use numbers, which can be backed up with discussions such as focus groups, in-depth interviews, etc Perhaps, mixed methods might be the way forward for feminist inquiry. Feminism must also embrace the use of technology in research. There is need to use research software, which explain issues both quantitatively and/or qualitatively. We must not hide behind arguments for using manual qualitative methods. This might save us time, energy and increase our effectiveness. Some feminists are missing out on helpful software because of femino-techno-phobia (This word does not exist).
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