Resources: Feminist Values in Research

Feminist perspectives on research methods

Feminist methodologies and epistemologies (2006) Andrea Doucet and Natasha S. Mauthner, in Clifton D. Bryant and Dennis L. Peck (eds.) Handbook of 21st Century Sociology, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 36–42 

In this book chapter, the authors provide a very helpful overview of the evolution of feminist thinking in relation to social science research. Highlighting key texts and critiques, they trace the development of what have come to be seen as fundamental characteristics of feminist research, these being: a goal of social transformation; rejection of the notion of the objectivity of the researcher; involvement of ‘the researched’ in the process that calls for self-reflexive and participatory approaches; and an emphasis on qualitative research methods.

Handbook of Feminist Research: Theory and Praxis (Second Edition) (2011) Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber (ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, ISBN: 978-1412980593, 792 pp., £120 (hbk)

This book provides an in-depth and wide-ranging consideration of feminist research. Its 33 chapters are divided into sections on theory, practice, and issues and insights, and includes in the latter section a contribution on transgender and transsexual identities and feminist research. The first chapter of this book discusses the development of feminist thinking in relation to social research, and covers topics such as the qualitative versus quantitative research debate, difference, and feminist standpoint theory. 

Why Feminism: Some Notes from ‘the Field’ on Doing Feminist Research (2017) Rishita Nandagiri, LSE Engenderings

This short online posting is an engaging and informative read from a PhD student at the London School of Economics. In it she discusses her personal understanding of what issues of power, intersectionality, reflexivity, and knowledge construction mean in the context of her own research into abortion in two locations in southern India.

Choosing methods for feminist research: qualitative and quantitative approaches

The quantitative/qualitative debate and feminist research: a subjective view of objectivity (2001) Nicola Westmarland, Forum: Qualitative Social Research 2 (1): Article 13 

Quantitative and qualitative research methods have traditionally had gendered associations (quantitative research being seen as scientific, objective, and masculine, and qualitative research as non-scientific, subjective, and feminine). Feminist research has always been associated with qualitative methodology, with some feminist researchers rejecting quantitative methods altogether as being in conflict with the aims of feminist research. This is explained in this clearly written and accessible article, which provides an excellent introduction to the  quantitative/qualitative debate. It discusses some of the main feminist critiques of quantitative research methodology, and then goes on to compare two research methods, the statistical survey and the semi-structured interview, in terms of their use to feminist researchers. The article concludes that whatever the research method, as long as it is applied from a feminist perspective there need be no what it terms ‘us against them’, ‘quantitative against qualitative’ argument.

An Overview of Qualitative Research Methods (n.d.) ThoughtCo

This online resource gives a great quick and easy introduction to qualitative research. It provides a helpful description of its characteristics, and outlines some key qualitative research methods. While no mention of feminist research is made, the methods listed (including in-depth interviews, open-ended surveys, and ethnographic observation) all form part of a qualitative feminist researcher’s toolkit, and are discussed here in an accessible style and easily digestible format.

Feminist Research Practice: A Primer (Second Edition) (2013) Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber (ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, ISBN: 978-1412994972, 456 pp., £56.00 (pbk)

This is an excellent book, with a strong practical focus. Chapters on a variety of qualitative research methods combine discussion of the feminist theoretical underpinnings of the methods themselves with real-life examples from researchers, and exercises for readers, making this a useful teaching tool. Areas covered include ethics, ethnography, action and community research, in-depth interviewing, focus groups, and putting together a research project.

A Guide to Gender-sensitive Research Methodology (2013) Sela M. Musundi, Jane K. Onsongo, and Ayo Coly, Nairobi: Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), 29 pp.

This is a beginner’s guide to undertaking gender-sensitive research, and designed specifically to support novice African researchers in undertaking gender-sensitive, qualitative research. The guide outlines all the necessary steps to be taken in a research project, from identifying a research topic, through to reporting and sharing findings. The guide is careful to make clear the important distinction between research that treats gender merely as a variable (in the same way as height or eye colour can be variables) and gender-sensitive research, which recognises gender as a social and cultural phenomenon, of fundamental importance in determining people’s lives.

Qualitative Comparative Analysis – A Rigorous Qualitative Method for Assessing Impact (2015) Carrie Baptist and Barbara Befani, Coffey, 7 pp.

A criticism frequently levelled at qualitative research is that its findings, from often indepth, context-specific case studies, are not generalisable – that is, it is not clear how learning from one context or project can be easily transferred to another. This accessible short guide provides an excellent introduction to Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), a relatively new method involving the use of specialised software. QCA has been developed for use in qualitative research projects to help identify which factors are most important for a given outcome. The guide explains what QCA is, how it has been used so far, with an example from a UK government-funded programme, and outlines a step-by-step approach to the QCA process.

Understanding mixed methods research (2007) John Cresswell and Vicki L. Plano Clark, in John Cresswell and Vicki L. Plano Clark, Designing and Conducting Mixed Methods Research (First Edition), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1–19

This chapter explains in clear and straightforward language what mixed-methods research looks like, and lists the strengths it brings in contrast to single-method (i.e. purely qualitative or quantitative) research. For any readers unsure of why good feminist research should adopt a mixed-methods approach, this book chapter will be very useful.

Narratives and numbers: feminist multiple methods research (2012) Abigail J. Stewart and Elizabeth R. Cole, in Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber (ed.) Handbook of Feminist Research: Theory and Practice, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 327–44

After first making the case for why feminist scholars are perhaps more predisposed than others to using a wide range of methods, the authors of this book chapter present six different models for integrating qualitative and quantitative research, discussing existing research examples for each model. The six models include the transformation of qualitative data into quantitative data, and the use of interviews to illuminate issues raised by quantitative findings.

The Seductions of Quantification: Measuring Human Rights, Gender Violence, and Sex Trafficking (2016) Sally Engle Merry, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, ISBN: 978-0-226-26128-7, 260 pp., $25.00

Although it is a rather dense read, this recent critique clearly makes the case for why quantitative data are not necessarily the most objective, reliable source of knowledge that they appear to be. Through her examination of the global indicators developed to measure violence against women, human rights, and sex trafficking, the author reveals the subjectivity involved in their creation, and the ways in which they can over-simplify what are often complex social problems. Critiquing the current ‘indicator culture’ in policy circles, the author argues that for indicators to work successfully, they need to be supplemented with qualitative research that provides a full picture of local contexts and lived experiences.

Reflexivity and positionality

Getting personal: reflexivity, positionality, and feminist research (1994) Kim England, The Professional Geographer 46(1): 80–9 

Although the language is a little theoretical in places, this article is recommended here for its discussion of ideas of impartiality and objectivity in research. Written for an audience of geographers, but of equal relevance for all those researching the lives and experiences of others, the article convincingly argues against the idea of the ‘neutral’ researcher who employs an objective and scientific approach (described in the article as ‘neopositivism’). It calls instead for critical reflection by the researcher on their own biography – what they themselves are bringing to the research, and how this might influence it.

Reflexivity, positionality and participatory ethics: negotiating fieldwork dilemmas in international research (2007) Farhana Sultana, ACME 6(3): 374–85

This accessible discussion of the author’s own experiences as a researcher helps to bring alive for the reader the key feminist research concepts of reflexivity, positionality, and participation, and the kinds of questions that arise when attempting to put them into practice. The author’s argument is that while there are dilemmas to be wrestled with, it is essential to give attention to reflexivity and positionality, as well as the power relations inherent in doing research. Such attention is necessary for feminist researchers faced with the ethical dilemmas involved in doing international fieldwork. These include fear of perpetuating neo-colonial representations and attracting charges of misrepresentation and inauthenticity.

Footloose researchers, ‘traveling’ theories, and the politics of transnational feminist praxis (2002) Gender, Place & Culture 9(2): 179–86 

This article usefully points out the challenge of producing research that meets the needs of all, and reflects on where ‘value’ lies. Comparing three responses to her research paper – from academic reviewers at the journal Gender, Place & Culture; the Indian women’s activist organisation she researched; and an Indian feminist research centre – the author contrasts the demands for attention to reflexivity and positionality from the academic journal with the desire from the activist organisation to have analysis that would be of practical use to them in their work. By its nature, this article is written in an academic style.

Feminist online interviewing: engaging issues of power, resistance and reflexivity in practice (2017) Jasmine R. Linabary and Stephanie A. Hamel, Feminist Review 115(1): 97–113

With the digital sphere offering new ways of collecting data, this article provides a helpful discussion of ways to apply a reflexive approach, with the authors proposing ‘reflexive email interviewing’ as a method for in-depth, qualitative feminist research. The method is demonstrated through a case study, and the article includes criteria for the method, along with a set of questions for researchers to use during research design and in each phase of their research process to ensure reflexivity is achieved.

Feminist standpoint theory

Feminist Standpoint Theory (n.d.) Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

This online essay offers important insights into feminist standpoint theory – a crucial influence on feminist research practice. While the concept may sound complex, the theory focuses on the importance of beginning academic research by focusing on women’s lives and experiences. The essay identifies central themes in feminist standpoint theory, and explains the concept of standpoints and the acquisition of knowledge through them. It goes on to look at the idea of ‘the outsider within’, which standpoint theory facilitates. This refers to the enhanced perspective a member of a marginalised group can bring when they are operating in a context of relative privilege, for example, an African-American woman working in white, male-dominated, academia. Finally, it explores the various controversies and debates that feminist standpoint theory has stimulated over the decades since it was first expounded. This essay uses theoretical language, but is a very worthwhile read.

Feminist standpoint epistemology: building knowledge and empowerment through women’s lived experience (2007) Abigail Brooks, in Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber and Patricia Lina Leavy (eds.) Feminist Research Practice: A Primer, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 53–82 

This book chapter covers a lot of the same ground as ‘Feminist Standpoint Theory’ (reviewed above). However, this chapter explores the concept at greater length, and more accessibly (using real-life examples as illustration). It calls feminist standpoint both ‘a theory of knowledge building and a call to political action’ (p. 55), and offers a particularly interesting discussion of the ‘double consciousness’ that feminist standpoint theory sees women as possessing. This means that women are aware not only of their own lives, but also that of the dominant group (men), as well. Meanwhile, men and male-dominated society often remain ignorant of women’s experiences. The author also charts the rise of challenges to feminist standpoint theory – including the challenge from the theory of intersectionality. She points to the tensions between recognising differences between women without diluting political solidarity, and the danger of reducing women to a single group with uniform characteristics.

Participatory and action research

Changing Development from the Inside Out: Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) for Development Justice in Asia and the Pacific (2017) Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), 52 pp.

In this excellent report, the non-government organisation APWLD explains its Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) approach, described as ‘a set of tools that grassroots women use to document injustice and inequality, to build momentum, and to bring about change’ (p. 2). The report outlines case studies from ten Asian countries where women’s groups have put FPAR into practice, including women in Myanmar’s garment industry fighting for a living wage, and women in Nepal challenging unequal land rights. Section Three of the report provides a valuable breakdown of the chief characteristics of FPAR. 

The ‘f’ word has everything to do with it: how feminist theories inform action research (2009) Wendy Frisby, Patricia Maguire, and Colleen Reid, Action Research 7(1): 13–29

Both feminist research and action research have transformative change as their goal. This article discusses the valuable role that feminist theories around gender, race, and other dimensions relating to identity can play in prompting consideration of power dynamics and discrimination during the action research process. A particularly interesting section discusses resistance from participants to the authors’ explicitly feminist action research, and ways they addressed this.

Feminist participatory action research: methodological and ethical issues (2000) Bev Gatenby and Maria Humphries, Women’s Studies International Forum 23(1): 89–105

This article, written by self-identified white, heterosexual, middle-class academics, discusses a feminist participatory action research (FPAR) project they undertook in New Zealand. The project focused on women’s careers in New Zealand, and included some participants who were Maori and another who was a lesbian. The article examines the methodological and ethical challenges that arose during the course of the research project. These include challenges relating to the closeness of the relationships between the authors and many of the participants; issues around interpretation of the contribution of participants; and the risks of not doing justice to the experiences of Maori or non-heterosexual participants.

Intersectionality and feminist research

Intersectionality (2013) Wendy Sigle-Rushton and Elin Lindström, in Mary Evans and Carolyn Williams (eds.) Gender: The Key Concepts, Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 129–34

This book chapter discusses intersectionality, a key theory of relevance for feminist researchers. In accessible language, the authors outline the history and development of the concept, which can be seen in part as a necessary response to assumptions about the commonality of women’s experiences. It has now become an essential lens for understanding the ways in which the multiple facets of a person’s identity – sex, gender, race, class, religion, sexuality, etc. – can intersect to increase (or red uce) discrimination and marginalisation.

What Does Intersectional Feminism Actually Mean? (2018) International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) 

This web page does a great job of defining intersectionality and outlining its history succinctly and accessibly, from a feminist perspective. It is highly recommended for those with no previous knowledge but who need to get to grips with the concept as quickly as possible. The page also includes a section on the kinds of intersectional discrimination faced by women with whom IWDA works, in its programming.

Intersectionality-informed Qualitative Research: A Primer (2014) Gemma Hunting, Vancouver: Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy, Simon Fraser University, 22 pp.

This accessibly written resource provides a beginner’s guide to integrating an intersectional approach into qualitative research. It discusses the various stages of a qualitative research project that employs an intersectional approach, including framing, data collection, measurement, data analysis, and interpretation. Although the case studies used to illustrate the value-added of intersectionality within each stage fall largely within the domain of health research, the method described will be relevant in a wide range of contexts.

Intersectionality-informed Quantitative Research: A Primer (2014) Setarah Rouhani, Vancouver: Institute for Intersectionality Research and Policy, Simon Fraser University, 18 pp.

A companion to the resource above, this is a guide to incorporating an intersectional approach into a quantitative research. Although perhaps somewhat baffling for those with no prior knowledge, those already familiar with quantitative research methods and terminology will find this a useful text.

Using Intersectional Feminist Frameworks in Research: A Resource for Embracing the Complexity of Women’s Lives (2006) Marika Morris and Bénita Bunjun, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW), 53 pp.

This report is designed to help CRIAW staff with the design of intersectional feminist research projects with marginalised people in Canada. Despite its specificity, the report will be of help to those wishing to embark on intersectional feminist research for the first time. Part 1 discusses intersectionality, the historical and global contexts in relation to research in the Canadian context (including Canada’s colonial past), and intersectional feminist frameworks, with a helpful list of the kind of feminist principles that inform them on pp.19–20. Part 2 outlines key steps in the research process, informed by the previous discussion.

Researching sensitive issues from a feminist perspective

Understanding Sensitive Research in the Health and Social Sciences: Managing Emotions, Boundaries and Risks (2007) Virginia Dickson-Swift, Erica Lyn James, and Pranee Liamputtong, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9780521718233, 168 pp., £50.99 (pbk)

This book will be of use to anyone considering undertaking research into a sensitive topic. Written from a practitioner’s perspective, it works through the kinds of ethical questions that can arise during each stage of the qualitative research process into issues such as such as death and dying, sexuality, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and cancer. The opening chapter, What is sensitive research? last accessed 23 July 2019) considers a range of different definitions of sensitive research. It also discusses the influence of feminist research. Here, it argues that the stress placed on personal relationships between researcher and the ‘researched’ typically found in feminist research is a key element of researching sensitive topics, and should be acknowledged.

Reflections on the role of emotion in feminist research (2007) Kristin Blakely, International Journal of Qualitative Methods 6(2): 59–68 

In this thoughtful article, the author explores the role of emotion in researching sensitive issues within the context of feminist research. With many areas of feminist research frequently emotionally charged – e.g. rape, sexual harassment, and abortion – the author argues that it is important particularly for feminist researchers to explore their emotional responses and pursue ‘emotionally engaged’ research. The article considers the implications of this for addressing ethical issues such as responsibility to and representation of participants. It also touches on the issue of self-care for researchers.

Reflections on research with survivors of female genital mutilation (2017) Jennifer Glover and Helen Liebling, Psychology of Women Section Review 19(1): 17–26

This is an accessibly written and personal account of the author’s experience of conducting research with survivors of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK. It considers issues of reflexivity, researcher positionality, and power dynamics, and will be especially helpful for anyone engaging in research or therapeutic work with FGM survivors in diaspora communities.

Between fatigue and silence: the challenges of conducting research on sexual violence in conflict (2018) Jelke Boesten and Marsha Henry, Social Politics 25(4): 568–88

This is a thought-provoking article that draws on experience from locations including Liberia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. It argues for the adoption of a reflexive, feminist perspective that allows researchers to actually question the need and context for interviewing survivors on their personal experiences of abuse. This is necessary because of the ‘research fatigue’ and trauma suffered by individuals and communities from sustained research interest in what the article calls a ‘hyped’ area of international concern. The article’s references list provides more useful material for further reading on this area, and the article itself is part of the Social Politics special issue: Revisiting Methodologies and Approaches in Researching Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Intervention Research on Violence Against Women. Building on Lessons from the WHO Publication: Putting Women First: Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Research on Domestic Violence Against Women (2016) Geneva: World Health Organization (WHO), 43 pp.

While not an explicitly feminist set of recommendations, violence against women and girls (VAWG) has been a central focus of feminist activism for decades, and its recognition in recent years as a major concern by agencies such as the WHO can in many ways be seen as a success for feminist lobbying within the United Nations system, and across the development
sector more widely. Building on a previous set of guidelines published by the WHO in 2001, these recommendations for researching VAWG cover areas such as safety, consent, confidentiality, support mechanisms for survivors, and specialist training for researchers. (See also the publication WHO Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Researching, Documenting,
and Monitoring Sexual Violence in Emergencies, 2007.)

Gender-based Violence Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation with Refugee and Conflict-affected Populations: A Manual and Toolkit for Researchers and Practitioners (2017) The Global Women’s Institute (GWI), George Washington University, 142 pp.

As the introduction explains, this resource is intended for use by both humanitarian practitioners and by the academic community. For humanitarian workers, it seeks to provide skills for designing and conducting basic research, monitoring, and evaluation, and aims to support collaboration with the academic community in undertaking more complex research and evaluation designs. For academics, the manual seeks to provide an introduction to the key principles that make gender-based violence research, monitoring, and evaluation different – particularly among refugee and conflict-affected populations. Section 4 explains GWI’s use of feminist and participatory research and evaluation theories and approaches, which are embedded in the guidance given in the manual.

Researcher well-being 

Prioritising doctoral students’ wellbeing in qualitative research (2018) Stefania Velardo and Sam Elliott, The Qualitative Report, 23(2): 311–18)

Although this recently published article does not adopt an explicitly feminist line, the ethics of care are a central concern in feminist research. The article argues that while much attention is given to participant well-being in the research process, and while there is recognition of the general stress and anxiety experienced by PhD students more broadly, there is very little acknowledgement of the emotional risks faced by them in their role as novice qualitative researchers who may be dealing with sensitive topics. Although written from the perspective of the Australian university system, the article helps to underscore the lack of systematic attention currently being paid to the emotional well-being of quantitative researchers far more widely, flagging this up as an issue for anyone considering carrying out research in emotionally challenging areas.

I’m okay, you’re okay?: reflections on the well-being and ethical requirements of researchers and research participants in conducting qualitative fieldwork interviews (2008) Wendy Mitchell and Annie Irvine, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 31–44

Again, like the resource above, not arguing from a specifically feminist viewpoint, this is a thoughtful and honest account of the authors’ experiences focusing not only on ethical dilemmas relating to research participants’ well-being and issues of consent and control, rapport building, and longer-term support, but also on the emotional toll for researchers that undertaking research into a difficult area can take. It calls for research funders to consider the impact particularly on contract researchers, who are not fully involved in the full research process, with limited opportunity to work through personal emotions and responses that have arisen during interaction with participants.

Talk about a cunt with too much idle time’: trolling feminist research (2017) F. Vera-Gray, Feminist Review 115(1): 61–78

This article highlights for readers the added labour for researchers of ‘safety work’, which the author contends forms an invisible backdrop to the methodological decisions of many feminist researchers. Describing the online abuse levelled by men’s rights activists against a research project on women’s experiences of men’s stranger intrusions in public space, the
author argues for the need to view such experiences within a violence-against-women framework. This extends the concept of a continuum of sexual violence into the realm of explicitly feminist research, with ramifications for researchers and participants alike.

When fieldwork hurts: on the lived experience of conducting research in unsettling contexts (2019) Laura Claus, Mark de Rond, Jennifer Howard-Grenville, and Jan Lodge, Research in the Sociology of Organizations 59: 157–72

In this highly readable article, the authors explore the lived experiences of a number of researchers who have conducted fieldwork in a variety of contexts that have resulted in feelings of helplessness, guilt, and shame for the researchers involved. The authors consider the often-overlooked emotional aspects of conducting and coping with research in difficult contexts, and provide some suggestions for ways in which researchers might support each other.

Feminist research in international development

Gender, ethics and empowerment: dilemmas of development fieldwork (2000) Regina Scheyvens and Helen Leslie, Women’s Studies International Forum 23(1): 119–30

As relevant for development researchers today as when published some 20 years ago, this clearly written article explores the ethical issues involved when undertaking cross-cultural and cross-gendered fieldwork in the global South. These issues relate to power dynamics, knowledge generation, ownership, and exploitation (‘Who speaks for whom?’, p. 2), with the authors, in the final section of the article, posing the question of whether research can ever be an empowering process for female participants in the global South.

Feminist research methodologies and development: overview and practical application (2007) Gwendolyn Beetham and Justina Demetriades, Gender & Development 15(2): 199–216

The value to readers of this article is two-fold. First, it provides a valuable overview of the history of research on and about women in the field of development. Second, it considers the ways that feminist methodologies have been used in the development of gender-sensitive indicators and measurements of change – of ever-increasing importance in development
policy circles. It includes an examination of the methods available for assessing progress on gender equality, and how gender methodologies can be used to ensure that indicators better reflect gendered experience.

Ethics abroad: fieldwork in fragile and violent contexts (2018) Kate Cronin-Furman and Milli Lake, PS: Political Science & Politics 51(3): 607–14

With an ever-increasing focus on fragile and conflict-affected contexts, more development research is being conducted in environments where researchers might be tempted to engage in research practices that would be considered unethical at home. This informative and clearly written article documents the common features of these kinds of settings, and draws on the authors’ real-life experiences to illustrate the kinds of ethical dilemmas relating to research participants and partners that can arise in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. The article ends with a set of guidelines aiming to foster more ethical and responsible research practices.

Integrating Gender in Research Planning (2019) Anam Parvez Butt, Namalie Jayasinghe, and Mayssam Zaaroura, Oxford: Oxfam, (last accessed 23 July 2019), 8 pp.

Aimed at non-gender-specialist development practitioners, this resource is an accessibly written guide designed to help identify how far a gender perspective is integrated into a research project. This starts from gender-blind, where the research fails to acknowledge any gender issues, and moves towards gender-transformative – the ultimate goal of feminist
research – where the research findings are intended to catalyse social change.

Feminist Research Framework (2017) International Women’s Development
Agency (IWDA), 65 pp.

Although intended for internal use by IWDA staff to help them design feminist research projects and guide them through IWDA’s research approvals process, this resource nevertheless offers a helpful starting point for others – particularly organisations – seeking to develop their own feminist research models. As well as describing the elements of the research framework itself (which include building feminist knowledge and a transformational intention), and discussion on various aspects of the research process, the resource also includes sections with an organisational focus, such as alignment of the research with organisational priorities, working with consultants, and ethical oversight of research within the organisation.

Feminist evaluation and gender approaches: there’s a difference? (2010) Donna R. Podems, Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation 6(14): 1–17

This article (from which the resource above draws heavily) is included here for the important distinction it makes between gender and feminist perspectives, in this instance in evaluation in international development, but equally applicable in any development research or programme context. Using evaluation of a sex workers project in South Africa to illustrate her argument, the author concludes that gender evaluation frameworks are not focused on actively changing women’s lives; they are focused on describing them. In contrast, feminist evaluation brings with it a political framing and intention, with evaluators asked to consider their own positionality, and to seek to address and challenge inequality through the evaluation.

Feminist Evaluation (n.d.) Better Evaluation,
themes/feminist_evaluation (last accessed 8 July 2019)

Better Evaluation is an organisation set up to improve the theory and practice and theory of evaluation across a wide range of fields, including development. The Feminist Evaluation section on their website offers an easily digestible overview of what feminist evaluation looks like, plus examples of feminist project evaluations, and a resources list.

Applying Feminist Principles to Program Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning, Oxfam Discussion Paper (2017) Shawna Wakefield and Daniela Koerppen, Oxford: Oxfam International, 24 pp.

While produced principally for Oxfam staff, this discussion paper will also be of use to those concerned with monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning (MEAL) in other development organisations. Oxfam International developed a set of Feminist MEAL Principles in 2013. The paper, having first pointed to the challenges of evaluating gender transformational change, illustrates how aspects of these Feminist Principles have been used in the design of MEAL systems in Oxfam programming. Case studies from three Oxfam gender programmes demonstrate the principles in practice, and share experience
and lessons learned.

Gender & Development (2014) Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning, 22(2)

This issue of Gender & Development focuses on monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) and gender in development work. An introductory article provides an overview of the subject, and outlines the collection of articles that follow. These come from practitioners and activists who share a variety of experiences of using MEL to assess and improve the impact of gender equality programming, and to influence policy and practice. A separate Resources section gives information on supporting material and further reading.