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Feminist Social Research Methods

5. Epistemological Concerns

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about epistemological concerns in feminist social research, focusing in particular on: (i) the issue of positionality and the emphasis in feminist sociology on acknowledging that the subjectivity of the researcher influences the research process; (ii) feminist approaches to the concept of objectivity in social research; (iii) the importance of valuing respondents’ insights, in order to avoid hierarchical, exploitative research relationships; (iv) the role of power differences in the research process and the need to include respondents in decisions regarding the conduct and presentation of research.


In this course, Professor Gayle Letherby (University of Plymouth) explores ideas and methods associated with feminist social research. In the first lecture, we consider feminist critiques of traditional sociological research. In the second lecture, we look at the ways in which feminist scholars incorporate gender and other differences into their research. In the third lecture, we think about issues of emotion and sensitivity in the research process. Next, we turn to feminist engagements with qualitative and quantitative methodologies. In the fifth lecture, we consider feminist approaches to epistemology. In the sixth and final lecture, we consider ideas of objectivity and subjectivity, and the place of politics and values in the research process.


Professor Gayle Letherby is Honorary Professor of Sociology at the University of Plymouth. Her areas of interest include social research methods, particularly feminist methodologies, and the sociology of the family. She is co-author of Introduction to Gender: Social Science Perspectives (2014) and Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social Research (2013), and author of Feminist Research in Theory and Practice (2003).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Letherby, G. (2021, August 31). Feminist Social Research Methods - Epistemological Concerns [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Letherby, G. "Feminist Social Research Methods – Epistemological Concerns." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Aug 2021,

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