Feminist Research Methods

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS2028232

Semester and Year Offered: 3rd Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Rachna Chaudhary

Email of course coordinator: rachna[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: Students should be registered for MA Gender Studies

Course Objectives/Description: This course continues with the issues and debates from the IRM course that is offered in the second semester. We will turn to feminist problematizations and elaborations of the basic research paradigms presented in the earlier course: The course will introduce students to feminist critiques of and debates about research methodologies across the spectrum of disciplines in the natural and social sciences as well as in the humanities. Beginning with criticisms regarding the exclusion of women as subjects of (and in) research, the debate has shifted to what feminist research that includes women might look like. There is a consensus that what makes research ‘feminist’ is not the specific research methods that are deployed (i.e. the techniques of gathering evidence), since these are neither new nor specific to feminist research. Rather, what distinguish feminist scholarship are the methodologies (i.e. theoretical approaches to research) and epistemologies (theories about and approaches to knowledge) that are used.

Course Outcomes: On successful completion of this course students will be able to: 

  1. Identify key aspects of their research interest.
  2. Demonstrate ability to engage with different methodologies of research.
  3. Learn to develop research questions and link this with the question of methodologies.
  4. Demonstrate an awareness of critical skills required to read a range of texts
  5. Capability to build a research idea and research methodology.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. What is Feminist Research?: This module begin the process of interrogating if research can be feminist. It takes up feminist research scholars and debates the idea. This module develops the debate along questions such as what are feminist methodologies and how to do feminist research.
  2. Feminist Critiques of Science: The module enquires into the questions of who and what of „Women‟ and where they are in research. These questions pertain to both, women as researchers and women as objects of research enquiry.
  3. Method, Methodology, and Epistemology: This modules makes clear the crucial distinction between concepts such as method, methodology and asks if they can be understood in relation with epistemology.
  4. Feminist Standpoint Epistemologies: The module takes the crucial feminist standpoint theory into account and exposes students to such feminist research epistemologies so that they are able to distinguish between social science methodologies and the feminist critiques of them.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • 30% for presentation
  • 40% for written submission
  • 10% Supervisor grading for interaction/meeting etc
  • 20% Dissertation workshop and participation

Reading List: 

  • Harding, Sandra. 1987. "Introduction: Is There a Feminist Method?" In S. Harding (Ed.), Feminism and Methodology (pp. 1-14). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 1-14
  • Reinharz, Shulamit. 1992 “Introduction.” In Feminist Methods in Social Research. New York: OUP. Pp. 3-18.
  • Martin, Emily. 1991. “The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypes,” Signs, Spring 16 (3): 485-501..
  • Caroline and Filippo Osella (2006), “How to make a Man?”, in Men and masculinities in South India. New Delhi: Anthem Press. Pp. 29-52.
  • Maria Mies (1991).Women„s research or Feminist Research? The debate surrounding feminist Science and methodology. In Mary Margaret Fonow and Judith A Cook (eds.), Beyond Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as Lived Research. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 60-84.
  • Harding, Sandra. 1987. "Conclusion: Epistemological Questions." in Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues, edited by Sandra Harding. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Harding, Sandra. Pp. 181-190.
  • Joan Acker, Kate Barry and Johanna Esseveld. (1991). Objectivity and truth: Problems in doing feminist research. In Mary Margaret Fonow and Judith A Cook (eds.), Beyond Methodology: Feminist Scholarship as Lived Research. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 133-153.
  • Klien, Renate Duelli. 1983. "How To Do What We Want To Do: Thoughts about Feminist Methodology," Theories of Women's Studies, edited by Gloria Bowles and Renate Duelli Klein. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul. pp. 88-104.
  • DeVault, Marjorie. 1996. "Talking Back to Sociology: Distinctive Contributions of Feminist Methodology." Annual Review of Sociology 22(1996):29-50.
  • Bora, Papori. 2010. Between the Human, the Citizen and the Tribal: Reading Feminist Politics in India‟s Northeast,” in International Feminist Journal of politics. Taylor and Francis. 12:3-4. Pp. 341-360.
  • Rege, Sharmila. 1998. "Dalit women talk differently: A critique of „difference' and towards a Dalit feminist standpoint position." Economic and Political Weekly, (October 31):39−46.
  • Tezenlo Thong, „To raise the savage to a higher level‟: The westernization of the Nagas and their Culture‟, Modern Asian Studies, 46,4 (2012). Pp. 893-918.
  • Mohanty, Chandra Talpade (2003). “Under Western Eyes: Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses,” pp. 17-42, In Feminism without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity. New Delhi: Zubaan. 


  • Gopal Guru, “Dalit Women Talk Differently”
  • Collins, Patricia Hill. (2004). learning from the outsider within: the sociological Significance of Black feminist thought. In Sandra Harding‟s (ed.), The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. New York: Routledge. Pp. 103-126.
  • Hekman, Susan. 1997. "Truth and Method: Feminist Standpoint Theory Revisited." In The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and political controversies, Ed. By Sandra Harding. London: Routledge. Pp. 225-242.