Feminist method and qualitative research about midlife

Authors

  • Carmel Seibold RN RM DipNurseEd BA MAppSci (Nursing),

    Corresponding author
    1. Lecturer, School of Nursing and Human Movement, Australian Catholic University, Mercy Campus, Ascot Vale
      Camel Seibold, Lecturer, School of Nursing and Human Movement, Australian Catholic University, Mercy Campus, Ascot Vale, 3032, Australia.
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  • Lyn Richards BA(HOIIS) MA,

    1. Associate Professor, School of Sociology and Anthropology, La Trobe University
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  • Dawn Simon RN RPN

    1. Research Assistant, School of Sociology and Anthropology, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia
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Camel Seibold, Lecturer, School of Nursing and Human Movement, Australian Catholic University, Mercy Campus, Ascot Vale, 3032, Australia.

Abstract

This paper identifies criteria seen as essential to feminist research. In light of these criteria, issues which have arisen during our current research on women and their experiences of midlife and menopause are discussed. Issues considered include the researchers' responsibilities to participants when exploring sensitive and highly personal issues relating to participants' life experiences, and less clear cut issues such as knowledge construction, power and control. In relation to the latter the balance of power in the research-participant relationship, and the role and responsibilities of the researcher in knowledge construction, are explored. Foucault's notions of knowledge construction and power and control and the feminist researcher's position, are considered in terms of rigour in feminist research and dissemination of research reports. Issues which are seen as problematic and worthy of further debate are: the relations between interviewer and interviewee; the intellectual (the researcher) as the bearer of universal values and as truth teller; and the level of critical activism possible in research studies of this nature.

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