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Virtual Special Issue – Feminist Research Methods

International Journal of Social Research MethodologyFeminist Research Methods

International Journal of Social Research Methodology

‘With women, by women, for women’.  This mantra, as discussed in the first paper in this collection (Goodey, 1998), sums up a formative ethic of feminist research.  As a rejection of standard masculine methodological models, with their assumed objectivity and detachment, feminist approaches have been designed to recognise the subjects of research as well as the place of the researcher in the production of knowledge.  Alert to hierarchies of power, feminist research has an avowedly open political stance directed toward transformative theory and praxis. However, as Goodey notes, and as the rest of this collection testifies, such a simple mantra belies the multiple and complex ways of knowing that underpin feminist ways of researching.

It is with enormous pleasure that I offer this collection of articles drawn from the International Journal of Social Research Methodology.  Through the span from the journal’s inception to the most recent issues, the articles in this collection demonstrate the many ways in which feminist researchers continue to challenge, develop, reflect and strive for robust practices and warrantable knowledges that are ethically grounded in respect and care for the experience of others.  This is configured through, inter alia, notions of voice, positionality, representation, intersectional understandings, strong objectivity and feminist empiricism.

And so, through their different foci, papers in this collection reflexively engage with standpoint theory (Goodey, 1998; Fawcett and Hearn, 2004); objectivity (Thapar-Byokert and Henry, 2004; Scott, 2010); insider/outsider perspectives (Mauthner, 2000; Thapar-Byokert and Henry, 2004; Spalek, 2005); Otherness (Fawcett and Hearn, 2004); feminist ethics (Mauthner, 2000); and voice (Parr, 2015). They confront received wisdoms, such as the notion that feminist methodologies are, indeed should be, qualitative (Scott, 2010) or the tensions between specific sociological paradigms and feminist approaches (Parr, 2015).  They are also concerned with applying broader feminist perspectives to argue for alternative methodological approaches in specific fields as evidenced in Ruspini’s (2001) attention to women’s poverty and household panel data and Webb, Walker and Bollis’ (2004) pedagogical approaches to teaching research methods.

Looking forward, ‘new’ feminist materialist theorizing with its focus on animate and inanimate assemblages presents further challenges to how we understand foundational concepts such as standpoint, voice and power.  Whilst the lineage of new materialism is broad, there can be no doubt of the significance of developing understandings of a more-and-other-than-human world (Hughes and Lury, 2013) and the significance of diffractive rather than Euclidean approaches.  There remains much more work to be done therefore with regard to re-turning feminist methodologies in such expanded and entangled habits and worlds.

Christina Hughes, Co-Editor International Journal of Social Research Methodology

All included articles are free to view until 29th February 2016. To claim your access, simply click on the links below.

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