Chapter 1

Methods, Practice and Epistemology: The Debate about Feminism and Research

Mary Maynard


The question as to what constitutes feminist social research has been an issue for feminists for over a decade and there is now a considerable literature addressing the topic. It seems to be widely accepted by feminists themselves that there is a distinctively feminist mode of enquiry, although there is by no means agreement on what this might mean or involve. In fact, as Sandra Harding has pointed out, scrutiny of the arguments reveals some confusion in the terms that are central to the debate.1 Harding usefully makes a distinction between discussions of method, of methodology and of epistemology. Whereas method refers to techniques for gathering ...

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