GI402      Half Unit
Gender, Knowledge and Research Practice

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sumi Madhok COL 5.01E


This course is compulsory on the MPhil/ PhD in Gender Studies, MSc in Gender and MSc in Gender (Research). This course is available on the MSc in Culture and Society, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Gender, Media and Culture and MSc in Gender, Policy and Inequalities. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course introduces students to the central issues at stake in designing and carrying out gender research at graduate and postgraduate level and beyond. The course maps the history of debates about gender and feminist research, and asks what difference it makes to take gender as the subject or object of research. Of particular concern are the ethical and political issues arising from doing gender research with respect to representing others and seeking to influence and engage with broader social contexts. Students will be introduced to debates about subjectivity and objectivity, the relationship between researcher and researched, and asked to evaluate the usefulness of particular methods and approaches.

The course is interdisciplinary, introducing students to a range of perspectives on knowledge production and research practice.

The course offers critiques of existing knowledge practices, and highlights the specific challenges to 'mainstream knowledge' that come from gendered and feminist perspectives. It explores how knowledge is produced and offers critical assessments of the dominant debates in gendered research practice, asking how we ensure that we conduct research ethically. Finally, the course focuses on the methodological challenges arising within interdisciplinary research. Through a discussion on methodological questions, it provides an opportunity to reflect on and synthesize a range of research design issues addressed on the course through producing and collectively evaluating student designed research proposals.


The course is taught in weekly three-four hour blocks in MT. The first two/three hours of each block will be a lecture and discussion session based on weekly assigned readings, followed by an hour-long 'workshop' session in which outside speakers will address dilemmas in epistemological or methodological dimensions of their research.

Formative coursework

Research Proposal (1500 words) in the MT.

Indicative reading

  • Patricia Hill Collins (2000) Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge;
  • Nina Lykke (2005) "Transformative Methodologies in Feminist Studies", special issue of European Journal of Women's Studies 12. 3;
  • Uma Narayan and Sandra Harding, eds (2000) Decentering the Center: Philosophy for a Multicultural, Postcolonial and Feminist World.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press;
  • Sandra Harding and Kathryn Norbers, eds (2005) "New Feminist Approaches to Social Science Methodologies", special issue of Signs 30. 4.


Essay (50%, 2500 words) and research project (50%) in the LT.

The research project is 3000 words.

Student performance results

(2012/13 - 2014/15 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.3
Merit 60.7
Pass 23.2
Fail 1.8

Key facts

Department: Gender Institute

Total students 2015/16: 30

Average class size 2015/16: 31

Controlled access 2015/16: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2013/14 - 2014/15 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 36%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


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Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)