Feminist Research Methodologies: Challenges and Negotiations

UPDATE: The draft programme for this event can be found below:

Feminist Research Methodologies draft programme

This post is a not-so-subtle plug for something I’m really excited about- an event I’m organising in October this year. My research on the career aspirations of women doctoral students uses a feminist approach; it places value on women’s experiences and aims to produce knowledge which will make a difference to women’s lives (Letherby, 2003). However, in my reading around feminist research, various challenges to undertaking this kind of research started to surface:

  • What is the nature of the relationship between the researcher and the researched?
  • How does our position within the research impact on what is produced?
  • How do we adequately represent our participants? 
  • How do we navigate the ethical issues involved in our research? 

The way we negotiate these challenges, and how we reflect and write about these negotiations is a vital part of feminist research. Yet, when reading literature on this subject, I felt that the practical challenges implicit in this kind of research- and the negotiations involved- were not always made visible by feminist researchers. I decided to organise an event which would provide the opportunity for postgraduates like me to come together and share our experiences of facing challenges and overcoming difficulties in our feminist research.

I thought it would be great to open the event to students from different subject areas; my own research spans both Education and Sociology, and feminist research can take place in any discipline. I’m interested to see the different approaches which are taken in different disciplines, and finding out about the research that postgraduate students from across the country are doing. Hopefully it will be provide a catalyst for the development of a network of feminist researchers who are in the early stages of their research, where we can discuss our ideas in a supportive environment and learn from one another.

I’m also hoping that presentations which are given at the conference might be developed into a book proposal- so watch this space.

If you would like to present at this conference, please do get in touch. Abstracts of no more than 250 words must be submitted to the conference organiser Rachel Handforth at rachel.handforth@student.shu.ac.uk by 5pm on Friday 25th September, and should be aimed at one of the following themes:

  • types of feminist research methodologies
  • positionality and the role of the researcher
  • ethical issues in feminist research
  • issues of representation in theory and practice

The conference itself will take place at Sheffield Hallam University on Friday 30th October 2015. It is aimed at postgraduate students undertaking research utilising feminist perspectives. The keynote speaker is Jessica Ringrose, Professor of Sociology of Gender and Education at the Institute of Education, University College London.

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2 thoughts on “Feminist Research Methodologies: Challenges and Negotiations

  1. Pingback: So what’s your research area? | thephdeepend

  2. Pingback: So what’s your research area? – Ellie Tomsett

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