Topics: Feminism, Sociology, Scientific method Pages: 13 (3716 words) Published: October 5, 2013
Journal of Politics and Law; Vol. 5, No. 4; 2012
ISSN 1913-9047
E-ISSN 1913-9055
Published by Canadian Center of Science and Education

A Critique on Feminist Research Methodology
Basharat Hussain1 & Amir Zada Asad1

Institute of Social Work, Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Peshawar, Pakistan

Correspondence: Basharat Hussain, Institute of Social Work, Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Peshawar, Pakistan. E-mail:
Received: September 12, 2012

Accepted: October 25, 2012

Online Published: November 29, 2012


In almost all advanced countries of the world, the discourse about the existence or other wise of a feminist research methodology has been live at least for the last few decades. There are argument in favour of and against the existence of such a methodology to be called “Feminist” and its validity. This article criticizes the arguments made by feminist research methodology and maintains that these claims do not establish it as a coherent and cogent mode of inquiry distinct from other non-feminist research methods. Keywords: feminist research, gender, women’s empowerment, qualitative research, women experiences 1. Introduction

Feminism refers to the belief and claim that women should have the same rights, powers and opportunities as men. Feminist approach argues that women suffer more than men, are more poor than men and are discriminated in all welfare policies. Based on these assumptions feminists argue that women are not truly represented in studies and researches and are pursuing a distinct methodology of research they call it ‘Feminist’. They claim to have specialized research methods and techniques but the opponent say these methods of research already existed and were in vogue and have nothing to do with feminists. The feminists have long been trying to answer the question of ‘what constitutes feminist social research?’ They believe that ‘there is a distinctively feminist mode of inquiry’ (Maynard, 1994:10). The argument is made on the basis of certain characteristics which are claimed to be the main features of feminist research distinct from traditional social science research; researching on women issues and focusing on gender relations. In other words, a feminist research is carried out by a woman and drawing on the experience of women living in a world where they are subordinate to men. Many writers have distinguished feminist research from others on four distinct grounds which include focusing on gender relations, the validity of personal experience as against conventional emphasize on scientific method; rejecting hierarchy in research relationship between the researcher and the researched; and the adoption of emancipation of women as the goal of research. Some writers (for example Hammersley, 1992) have challenged the foundations of the feminist methodology. Hammersley (1992) criticized the basic components on which feminists laid their foundations and concluded that:

The arguments in support of a feminist methodology do not establish it as a coherent and cogent alternative to non-feminist research. Many of the ideas on which feminists methodologists draw are also to be found in the non-feminist literature. (Hammersley, 1992:202) However there is an overwhelming recognition that the feminist approach has brought substantial gains to the development of social research through the positive and creative production of knowledge and should not be undermined (Ramazanoglu, 1992). This article highlights the common features that constitute feminist research. It also examines Hamersley’s critique and rejection of feminist method. 2. Is There a Feminist Method?

There is no consensus over the basic foundation of what constitute a feminist research. The available literature seems to suggest that many feminist authors have draw upon certain components as defining...

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