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Handbook of Feminist Research

Handbook of Feminist Research
Theory and Praxis

Second Edition
Edited by:

October 2011 | 792 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

This Handbook presents both a theoretical and practical approach to conducting social science research on, for, and about women. It develops an understanding of feminist research by introducing a range of feminist epistemologies, methodologies, and emergent methods that have had a significant impact on feminist research practice and women's studies scholarship. Contributors to the Second Edition continue to highlight the close link between feminist research and social change and transformation.

The new edition expands the base of scholarship into new areas, with 12 entirely new chapters on topics such as the natural sciences, social work, the health sciences, and environmental studies. It extends discussion of the intersections of race, class, gender, and globalization, as well as transgender, transsexualism and the queering of gender identities. All 22 chapters retained from the first edition are updated with the most current scholarship, including a focus on the role that new technologies play in the feminist research process.

Discover the latest news from Author Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber: 

Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber
Chapter 1. Feminist Research: Exploring, Interrogating, and Transforming the Interconnections of Epistemology, Methodology, and Method
Part 1. Feminist Perspectives on Knowledge Building
Catherine E. Hundleby
Chapter 2. Feminist Empiricism
Sandra Harding
Chapter 3. Feminist Standpoints
Susanne Gannon and Bronwyn Davies
Chapter 4. Postmodern, Post-Structural, and Critical Theories
Mary Hawkesworth
Chapter 5. Truth and Truths in Feminist Knowledge Production
Noretta Koertge
Chapter 6. Critical Perspectives on Feminist Epistemology
Kum-Kum Bhavnani and Molly Talcott
Chapter 7. Interconnections and Configurations: Toward a Global Feminist Ethnography
Bonnie Thornton Dill and Marla H. Kohlman
Chapter 8. Intersectionality: A Transformative Paradigm in Feminist Theory and Social Justice
Part 2. Feminist Research Praxis
Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber and Deborah Piatelli
Chapter 9. The Synergistic Practice of Theory and Method
Wanda S. Pillow and Cris Mayo
Chapter 10. Feminist Ethnography: Histories, Challenges, and Possibilities
Marjorie L. DeVault and Glenda Gross
Chapter 11. Feminist Qualitative Interviewing: Experience, Talk, and Knowledge
Kathi N. Miner, Toby Epstein Jayaratne, Amanda Pesonen, and Lauren Zurbrugg
Chapter 12. Using Survey Research as a Quantitative Method for Feminist Social Change
Sue V. Rosser
Chapter 13. The Link Between Feminist Theory and Methods in Experimental Research
Sharon Brisolara and Denise Seigart
Chapter 14. Feminist Evaluation Research
Deboleena Roy
Chapter 15. Feminist Approaches to Inquiry in the Natural Sciences: Practices for the Lab
M. Brinton Lykes and Rachel M. Hershberg
Chapter 16. Participatory Action Research and Feminisms: Social Inequalities and Transformative Praxis
Elizabeth R. Cole and Abigail J. Stewart
Chapter 17. Narratives and Numbers: Feminist Multiple Methods Research
Adele E. Clarke
Chapter 18. Feminism, Grounded Theory, and Situational Analysis Revisited
Sarah Maddison and Frances Shaw
Chapter 19. Feminist Perspectives on Social Movement Research
Lynn Weber and Jennifer Castellow
Chapter 20. Feminist Research and Activism to Promote Health Equity
Stephanie Wahab, Ben Anderson-Nathe, and Christina Gringeri
Chapter 21. Joining the Conversation: Social Work Contributions to Feminist Research
Kathy Charmaz
Chapter 22. Writing Feminist Research
Kristen Intemann
Chapter 23. Putting Feminist Research Principles Into Practice
Part 3. Feminist Issues and Insights in Practice and Pedagogy
Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber and Abigail Brooks
Chapter 24. Challenges and Strategies in Feminist Knowledge Building, Pedagogy, and Praxis
Judith Roof
Chapter 25. Authority and Representation in Feminist Research
Alison Wylie
Chapter 26. The Feminism Question in Science: What Does It Mean to "Do Social Science as a Feminist"?
Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber and Deborah Piatelli
Chapter 27. The Feminist Practice of Holistic Reflexivity
Judith Preissle and Yuri Han
Chapter 28. Feminist Research Ethics
Katherine Johnson
Chapter 29. Transgender, Transsexualism and the Queering of Gender Identities: Debates for Feminist Research
Diane Reay
Chapter 30. Future Directions in Difference Research: Recognizing and Responding to Difference in the Research Process
Jennifer Bickham Mendez and Diane L. Wolf
Chapter 31. Feminizing Global Research/Globalizing Feminist Research: Methods and Practice Under Globalization
Debra Renee Kaufman and Rachel Lewis
Chapter 32. From Course to Dis-course: Mainstreaming Feminist, Pedagogical, Methodological, and Theoretical Perspectives
Daphne Patai
Chapter 33. Feminist Pedagogy Reconsidered
Debjani Chakravarty, Judith A. Cook, and Mary Margaret Fonow
Chapter 34. Teaching, Techniques, and Technologies of Feminist Methodology: Online and on the Ground


'The Handbook of Feminist Research: Theory and Praxis is a well-developed contribution to the body of feminist literature. It effectively highlights the connection between feminist research and social change by drawing upon the range of existent feminist epistemologies, methods, and practices, all of which adopt different means of conceptualising, researching, and ultimately representing the lived experiences of women, varied across the lines of race, class and/or other demographics. The text, while accessible for both research and teaching purposes, perhaps most importantly draws our attention to the need to be critically aware in the process of conducting feminist research. One must address the challenges, research developments, and, crucially, the diversity amongst women, that may be incurred in attempting to research, understand, and accurately represent the lived experiences of all women'

Emma Smith
LSE Review of Books
Key features

Key Features of the Second Edition

  • Expands the base of scholarship into new areas, with new chapters on the place of feminism in the natural sciences, social work, the health sciences, and environmental studies
  • Extends discussion of the intersections of race, class, gender, and globalization, with new chapter on issues of gender identity
  • Updates all chapters retained from the first edition with the most current scholarship, including a focus on the role that new technologies play in the feminist research process
  • Includes research case studies in each chapter, providing readers with step-by-step praxis examples for conducting their own research projects
  • Offers new research and teaching resources, including discussion questions, and a list of websites as well as journal references geared to each chapter's content

We continue to reach out to two primary constituencies. The first is researchers, practitioners, and students within, and outside the academy, who conduct a variety of research projects and who are interested in consulting "cutting edge" research methods and gaining insights into the overall research process. This group also includes policymakers and activists who are interested in how to conduct research for social change. The second edition's audience continues to include academic researchers who, it is hoped, will use the Handbook in their research scholarship, as well as in their courses, at the upper-level undergraduate and graduate levels, as a main or supplementary text.

The second edition of the Handbook also includes a range of new research and teaching resources for both these readership groups with a list of websites as well as journal references that are specifically geared to each chapter's content. In addition, the second edition has an enhanced pedagogical feature at the end of each chapter that provides a set of key discussion questions intended as a praxis application for the ideas and concepts contained in each chapter.

The second edition's Handbook structure contains three primary sections that that represent a more finely tuned focus on theory and praxis, including the an enhanced set of case study research examples for each chapter that provide readers with a step-by- step praxis examples for conducting their own research projects.

Section one, "Feminist Perspectives on Knowledge Building,"

traces the historical rise of feminist research and begins with the early link of feminist epistemologies and perspectives within the research process. We trace the contours of early feminist inquiry and introduce the reader to the history, and historical debates, of and within feminist scholarship. We explore the androcentrism (male bias) in traditional research projects and the alternative set of questions feminist researchers bring to the research endeavor. We explore the political process of knowledge building by introducing the reader to the link between knowledge, authority, representation and power relations.

The chapters in Section One, introduce the unique knowledge frameworks feminists offer to enhance our understanding of the social reality. We explore some of the range of issues and questions feminists have addressed and the emphasis of feminist epistemologies and methodologies on understanding of the diversity of women's experiences, the commitment to the empowerment of women and other oppressed groups.

We examine a broad spectrum of the most important feminist perspectives and we take an in-depth look at how a given methodology intersects with epistemology and method to produce set of research practices. The Handbook's overall thesis is that any given feminist perspective does not preclude the use of specific methods, but serves to guide how a given method is practiced in the research process. While each feminist perspective is distinct, it sometimes shares elements with other perspectives. We discuss the similarities and differences across the spectrum of feminist perspectives on knowledge building.

Section two of the Handbook, "Feminist Research Praxis," examines how feminist researchers utilize a range of research methods in the service of feminist perspectives. Feminist researchers use a range of qualitative and quantitative as well as mixed and multi methods, and this section examines the unique characteristics feminists researchers bring to the practice of feminist research, by by maintaining a tight link between their theoretical perspectives and methods practices.

This section includes three new chapters. Deboleena Roy's chapter titled, "Feminist Approaches to Inquiry in the Natural Sciences: Practices for the Lab," tackles how feminist researchers go about their work within a natural science laboratory setting. She notes the importance of being reflexive of the range of ethical conundrums that are contained within practicing the scientific method. Roy suggests the importance of infusing laboratory research with a sense of "playfulness" and what she terms a "feeling around" in the pursuit of feminist laboratory knowledge building, that privileges a reaching out to other scientists in order to build a community of "togetherness" among researchers.

Stephanie Wahab, Ben Anderson-Nathe, and Christina Gringeri's new chapter, "Joining the Conversation: Social Work Contributions to Feminist Research," provides exemplary case studies of the practice of feminist research within a social work setting. Wahab et al. suggest that social work history of being grounded in praxis, ethics and reflection, can contribute to feminist knowledge building. In turn, social work's engagement with feminist theory, may help to disrupt the assumptions of knowledge contain in social work practice.
Kristen Intemann's new chapter, "Putting Feminist Research Principles Into Practice," suggests that research principles of feminist praxis can benefit scientific research. Intemann proposes that scientific communities need to tend to issues of difference in the scientific research process by including diverse researchers (in terms of experiences, social positions, and values), that will serve to enhance a critical reflection on scientific research praxis with the goals of enhancing the perspective of the marginalized, and working towards a multiplicity of conceptual models.

Section III of the Handbook, "Feminist Issues and Insights in Practice and Pedagogy" examines some of the current tensions within feminist research and discusses a range of strategies for positioning of feminist research within the dominant research paradigms and emerging research practices. Section III also introduces some feminist "conundrums" regarding knowledge building that deal with issues of truth, reason logic and ethics. Section III also tackles the conceptualization of difference and its practice. In addition, it addresses how feminist researchers can develop an empowered feminist community of scholars across transnational space. Section three also focuses on issues within the practice of feminist pedagogy that includes a discussion of how feminists can or should convey the range of women's scholarship that differentiates it from the charge that women's studies scholarship conveys only ideology not knowledge.

A new chapter added to this section is Katherine Johnson's contribution titled, "Transgender, Transsexualism, and the Queering of Gender Identities: Debates for Feminist Research." Johnson examines some of the core issues of contention within queer studies with the goal of identify those theoretical perspectives that have particular relevance to feminist researchers. Johnson argues that feminist researchers need to be cognizant of the range of identity positions with regard to gender identities. Johnson encourages feminist researchers to explore definitions, terminology, and areas for coalitions in order to promote the crossing of identity borders. Johnson's work analyzes the dialogues between feminism and transgender, transsexual, and queer studies and at how the fields may work together to more robust research.

Sharlene Hesse-Biber and Abigail Brooks' introduction to this section remind us that "There is no one feminist viewpoint that defines feminist inquiry." But rather "feminists continue to engage in and dialogue across a range of diverse approaches to theory, praxis, and pedagogy" (Hesse-Biber & Brooks, this volume).

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