AWS 300: Feminist Research Methods (Taught Spring 2003)


Carol Ellis, Ph.D.
Melody Ellis, A.B.D.



What is feminist research and how can it be applied in the world and in the workplace? How can the use of feminist research, both qualitative and quantitative, strengthen women’s power when they apply such knowledge to increase their intelligent interactions with the environments wherein they live and work? How do women integrate into institutions and what are the results of such integration? What is the discourse of gender integration? How does gender theory become gender application?

This graduate seminar asks us to choose an institution that intrigues us and to keep a research journal that analyzes it through the application of qualitative and quantitative feminist research. We will be asked to give a variety of presentations on what we wish to discover and on what we are discovering as we study what it means to be a feminist in institutions that do not necessarily welcome our feminist stance. The final papers will be analytical overviews of what we have discovered. Analytical overviews make use of feminist research applications to ground our discoveries in feminist theory.

As we read about feminist research methods, we should expect to discuss how we view them as applying to our own projects. There will be two formal presentations. In the first presentation the students will be asked to give an introduction to their explorations of the organizations that they choose for their projects. In their initial discussion, students should engage in discourse that reflects the following questions: What is it about this organization that is interesting? What kind of information needs to be found? What kinds of questions are being asked and encountered? This discussion should include a first-cut application that explores the central research issues of the analysis. The second presentation should focus on the answers to the research questions posed as well as the results of the applications. Furthermore, the research methods that are employed in the projects need to be addressed and the choice of methods defended.

The students will be graded on the intelligence and integrity of their ongoing research projects, their research journals, their presentations, their final papers, and their participation in seminar discussions.


Feminist Methods in Social Research by Shulamit Reinharz. Oxford, 1992.

The Craft of Political Research by W. Phillips Shively. Prentice Hall, fifth edition.

Feminist Organizations, Harvest of the New Women’s Movement by Myra Mark Ferree and Patricia Yancey Martin, editors. Temple, 1995.


Week One (Jan. 23): Introduction to the course.

Week Two (Jan. 30): What is feminism? What is feminist research?
Reinharz, Chapters 12 and 13. Ferree and Martin, Parts II and I.
Discussion of research projects.

Week Three (Feb. 6): Project presentations.
The art of asking questions to gather information and to create theory.

Week Four (Feb. 13): Qualitative Research.
Reinharz, Chapters 1-3 and 6-8. Ferree and Martin, Part IV.

Week Five (Feb. 20): Quantitative Research.
Shively, Chapters 1-3 Reinharz, Chapter 4

Week Six (Feb. 27): Quantitative Research.
Shively, Chapters 4,5, 6 Reinharz, Chapter 5

Week Seven (Mar. 6): Qualitative Research.
Reinharz, Chapters 9-ll. Ferree and Martin, Parts III and V

Week Eight (Mar. 13): Quantitative Research.
Shively, Chapters 7,8,9,10

Week Nine (Mar. 20): Spring Break

Week Ten (Mar. 27): Grant writing with Susan Steiner.

Week Eleven (Apr. 3): Political and Social Applications.
Ferree and Martin, Part VI.

Week Twelve (Apr. 10): Issues and considerations.
Ferree and Martin, Part VII.

Week Thirteen (Apr. 17): Final Presentations

Week Fourteen (Apr. 25): Final Presentations

Week Fifteen (May 1): Final Presentations

Week Sixteen (May 8): Closure

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