Jayarate and Stewart, “Quantitative and Qualitative Methods” Feminist Criticism of Quantitative research The selection of sexist and elitist research topics Biased research designs, including selection of only male subjects An exploitative relationship between the researcher and the subject The illusion of objectivity, especially associated with the positivist approach The simplistic and superficial nature of quantitative data Improper interpretation and overgeneralization of findings, including the use of person-blame explanations and application to women of theory tested on exclusively male subjects Inadequate data dissemination and utilization Qualitative Research Emphasize objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data Collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or pre-existing statistical data Generalizing numerical data across groups of people or to explain a particular phenomenon Stress the socially constructed nature of reality, Stress intimate relationship between the researcher and what is studied, Identify situational constraints that shape inquiry, Emphasize the value-laden nature of inquiry Ask questions that stress how social experience is created and given meaning. Feminist critiques of scientific objectivity Imposes predetermined categories of meaning ‘Objective’ science has been sexist, and therefore not objective Glorification of objectivity imposes a hierarchical and controlling relationship on the research/researched dyad Idealization of objectivity excludes subjective knowledge and leaves that knowledge out of science, and therefore unexamined Dangers of “apparent objectivity” The call for “inclusive” methodologies Neither methodology is inherently better or worse, or more or less objective; both have advantages and limits; choose the best approach for answering particular question, combine methods—“triangulate”; consider the political implications of research questions; do quality research! Benefits and limits of qualitative methods Benefits Limits Can address power imbalances between researcher/ researched Being invested in particular theories might use methods that are more likely to produce desired results Provides a richly detail of phenomena Cannot generalize findings to other populations Data based on participants own categories of meaning Difficult to test hypotheses Can study limited #of cases in depth add context Difficult to make quantitative predictions Can generate exploratory, tentative theories Time consuming data collection Can portray insider perspective/experience Results are more easily influenced by researcher biases and idiosyncrasies Strategies for practical implementation of a feminist perspective on social science research Neither methodology is inherently better or worse, or more or less objective Both have advantages and limits
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