21 marks essay starter for feminism and research methods

Assess the view that feminist research requires its own specific methodology

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  • Created by: Amira
  • Created on: 14-05-12 12:17

Feminist researchers prefer to use research methods which will give qualitative data which enables them to reach ‘verstehen’(Weber). Feminists tend to favour particular methods such as focus groups.   Focus groups consist of a relatively small number of people who are asked to discuss a specific topic. Focus groups would give the feminist researcher the opportunity to hear an issue being discussed, with women being able to discuss and challenge each other’s views however they are not very representative as only a small sample is used. Wilkinson says that feminists use focus groups as there is less of an obvious power divide and they allow people to interact naturally and that they also even out power by giving a group of women the chance to take control of the discussion. Madriz further adds focus groups give marginalised women the chance to make sense of their experiences and gives them a sense of solidarity. Feminists would also prefer to use unstructured interviews where it is more like a conversation with the participant where the researcher just has a basic area for discussion and asks any questions that seem relevant. Therefore there is no official hierarchy between the researcher and the participant and the participant can express themselves giving a truer picture. An example of the use of unstructured interviews is Oakley’s study of the ‘housewife’.

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