Knowledge and Women's Interests: Issues of Epistemology and Methodology in Feminist Sociological Research

Judith A. Cook, Mary Margaret Fonow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

220 Scopus citations


This analysis focuses on feminist methodology in the field of sociology by surveying the techniques used in recent research concerning gender‐related topics as well as feminist analyses of epistemological assumptions underlying the conduct of inquiry. In addition to the critique and reformulation of standard research practice, feminist methodology involves the development of innovative methodological approaches, including visual techniques, conversational and textual analysis, and analysis of spontaneous events. Linked to the development of innovation is the feminist analysis of the epistemological assumptions which underlie different ways of knowing. These principles of feminist knowledge include (1) the necessity of continuously and reflexively attending to the significance of gender relations as a basic feature of all social life, including the conduct of research; (2) the centrality of consciousness‐raising as a specific methodological tool and as a “way of seeing;” (3) the need to challenge the norm of “objectivity” that assumes a dichotomy between the subject and object of research; (4) the concern for the ethical implications of research; and (5) an emphasis on the transformation of patriarchy and the empowerment of women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-29
Number of pages28
JournalSociological Inquiry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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