Research Methods and Exemplary Works

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS3011084

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon Semester 2018

Course Coordinator and Team: RachnaChaudhary (AUD) and Bijoya Roy (CWDS)

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

Pre-requisites: Students should be registered to the MPhil WGS programme

Course Objectives/Description:

This course will focus on how Feminist research methodologies have emerged as a response to or as critique of existing research perspectives in the natural and social sciences and humanities. Consequently, the course will discuss key approaches in feminist research methodologies that actively engage with concepts like subjectivity of the researcher, individual experience, intersectionality the qualitative-quantities distinctions, power relations in research etc. Through thematic reading across chosen domains, the effort will be to understand how authors have developed methodologies to address their research questions; how they have used different kinds of primary/secondary and quantitative/qualitative data, analysed it and what makes their research feminist

Fieldwork is a critical aspect of RMEW coursework. The purpose is to learn the skills of doing fieldwork, share fieldwork experiences and reflect upon the process. Its purpose is to enable them to understand the diverse methodological approaches, complexity of the field in terms of access, power gradient between the researcher and the researched and ethical dilemmas. Finally the aim of fieldwork in RMEW is to deepen their understanding of how researchers’ experience of the field can shape the research.

Course Outcomes:

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

  1. Identify key approaches in feminist research methodologies.
  2. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of key texts and topics related to Feminist Research Methodologies.
  3. Engage with concepts such as subjectivity of the researcher, individual experience and intersectionality.
  4. Demonstrate an awareness of critical skills required to read a range of texts.
  5. Use different kinds of primary/secondary and quantitative/qualitative data.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Introduction and Critique of Science: This module introduces the students to the concepts of science and their critique from a feminist lens. The claims of objectivity and truth are critically engaged with and students explore the link between science and research methodologies.
  2. Object and Subject of Research:This module asks students to look into the making of objects of research enquiry. What makes a certain concept or category an object of research and who takes up what kind of questions to research.
  3. Method, Methodologies and Epistemiologies: This module explores feminist methodologies such as feminist standpoint epistemology and asks what are the linkages between method, methodologies and epistemology.
  4. Feminist Research and Quantitative Method: This module trains the students to understand and use quantitative method. This entails engaging with a variety of data, interpreting it and using it for research.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Assessment 1: Written of 40% weight
  • Assessment 2: Short Piece based on Field Diary of 30% weight
  • Assessment 3: Field Work Presentation of 30% weight

Reading List:

  • Donna Haraway (2004). Situated Knowledges: The science question in Feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. In Sandra Harding’s (ed.), The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. New York: Routledge. Pp. 81-102.
  • 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.
  • Brian Larkin, “Unstable Objects: The Making of Radio in Nigeria”, from Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Nigeria”.
  • PurnimaMankekar (2002), “Epic Contests: Television and Religious Identity in India”, in Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin (eds.), Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain, University of California Press, pp. 134-151
  • Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber, Patricia Leavy, and Michelle L. Yaiser, “Feminist Approaches to Research as a Process: Reconceptualizing Epistemology, Methodology, and Method”
  • Harding, Sandra. 1987. "Introduction: Is There a Feminist Method?" Pp. 1-14 and “Conclusion: Epistemological Questions,” pp. 181-190 in Harding, Sandra. Feminism and Methodology: Social Science Issues. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987
  • 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.
  • Harding, S. Introduction. Standpoint theory as a site of political philosophic and scientific debate. In Harding S Ed. The Feminist Standpoint Reader.
  • Rege, S. (1998) A Dalit Women Talk Differently. A critique of difference and towards a Dalit feminist standpoint position.
  • Gatrell C (2006) Interviewing Fathers: Feminist Dilemmas in Fieldwork, Journal of Gender Studies, Vol. 15, No. 3 November, pp. 237–251
  • Mahmood C K (2002) Anthropological Compulsions in a World in Crisis (Editorial) ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY Vol 18 No 3, June
  • Choragudi, Rahul. 2017. ‘The predicament of a Madiga ethnographer doing fieldwork in a multi-caste village in Andhra Pradesh’ in Knowing the Social World: Perspectives and Possibilities, edited by N. Jayaram, 377-393. Delhi: Orient Blackswan.


  1. Inhorn MC and Whittle K L (2001) Feminism meets the new Epidemiologies: toward an appraisal of antifeminist biases in epidemiological research on women’s health, Social Science and Medicine, 53, 553-567
  2. Gopal M and Lingam L (2002) Missing Links in Women’s Morbidity in India, A Critical Review of Selected Studies (1990-2000) The Gender and Reproductive Health Research Initiative. CREA. New Delhi.
  3. Hollen C V (2016) Feminist Critical Medical Anthropology Methodologies: Understanding Gender and Healthcare in India, Economic & Political Weekly, APRIL 30, 2016 VollI, No 18
  4. Kim Gutschow (2015) Going ‘Beyond the Numbers’: Maternal Death Reviews in India, MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
  5. Conceptualising Conceptions (2016) In Bhardwaj A (2016) Conceptions Infertility and Procreative Technologies in India, Orient Black Swan, New Delhi.
  6. My Vaidya and my Gynecologist: Agency, Authority and Risk in Quest of a Child. In Asymmetrical Conversations: Contestations, Circumventions, and the Blurring of Therapeutic Boundaries, ed. Harish Naraindas, Johannes Quack and William S. Sax, 118-161. New York: Berghahn, 2014
  7. Martin S P, McDaid L M and Hilton S (2014) Double-standards in reporting of risk and responsibility for sexual health: a qualitative content analysis of negatively toned UK newsprint articles, BMC Public Health, 14:792
  8. Lupton D (1992) Discourse Analysis: A New Methodology for Understanding the ideologies of Health and illness, Australian Journal of Public Health, Vol.16., No.2
  9. Lupton D (1994) Femininity, responsibility, and the technological imperative: Discourses on Breast Cancer in the Australian Press, International Journal of Health Services, Vol. 24, No. 1, 73-89.