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Feminist Social Research Methods

6. Political Research, Bias and Objectivity

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In this lecture, we think about feminist approaches to the role of political values in research, focusing in particular on: (i) the feminist emphasis on conducting research which produces positive political outcomes, and the critique of this as biased and lacking objectivity; (ii) feminist responses to this critique which argue that traditional ideas of objectivity were themselves political and that acknowledging subjectivity produces superior research; (iii) the increasing acceptance of political impact as an important goal in academia and the consequences of this; (iv) the extent to which social research can bring about positive political change.


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 - Political Research, Bias and Objectivity [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Letherby, G. "Feminist Social Research Methods – Political Research, Bias and Objectivity." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 31 Aug 2021,

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