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Writing an article for ‘Research Made Simple’ on feminist research may at first appear slightly oxymoronic, given that there is no agreed definition of feminist research, let alone a single definition of feminism. The literature that examines the historical and philosophical roots of feminism(s) and feminist research is vast, extends over several decades and reaches across an expanse of varying disciplines. Trying to navigate the literature can be daunting and may, at first, appear impenetrable to those new to feminist research.
There is no ‘How To’ in feminist research. Although feminists tend to share the same common goals, their interests, values and perspectives can be quite disparate. Depending on the philosophical position they hold, feminist researchers will draw on differing epistemologies (ways of knowing), ask different questions, be guided by different methodologies and employ different methods. Within the confines of space, this article will briefly outline some of the principles of feminist research. It will then turn to discuss three established epistemologies that can guide feminist research (although there are many others): feminist empiricism, feminist standpoint and feminist postmodernism.
What makes feminist research feminist?
Feminist research is grounded in a commitment to equality and social justice, and is cognisant of the gendered, historical and political processes involved in the production of knowledge.1 It also strives to explore and illuminate the diversity of the experiences of women and other marginalised groups, thereby creating opportunities that increase awareness of how social hierarchies impact on and influence oppression.2 Commenting on the differentiation between feminist and non-feminist research, Skeggs asserts that …
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.