What are some examples of methodologies?

Some methodologies also encompass other methodologies. Two good examples are feminist methodologies and Marxist methodologies.

Feminist methodologies for research have had a major impact in the social sciences since the 1970s because they have engaged with questions about the nature of knowledge, society, language and power through a focus on women. Feminist research and theory emerged from feminism as a political and social movement particularly from the 1970s. Feminist research incorporates feminist approaches to other methodologies and disciplines such as philosophy, ethnography, participant observation, discourse theory, sociology, history, theology, geography. Feminist research initially began with a rigorous critique of all other kinds of disciplines and approaches to understanding knowledge of society. Feminists have questioned the philosophical basis of ‘universal’ western knowledge, they have created new discourses, and new fields of study. Feminists have talked from a ‘standpoint’ that has deliberately privileged questions related to women and the nature of patriarchy. According to Sandra Harding (2004) standpoint theory ‘was proposed not just as an explanatory theory, but also prescriptively as a method or theory (a methodology) to guide future feminist research” (p.1).

Marxist methodologies to research are situated in Marxist theory which is situated primarily in the work of Marx himself and then in the different schools of interpretation of Marx. Marxist research encompasses a large body of scholarship that has directly or indirectly influenced most fields of study. Different Marxist theorists have had and still have an impact on ideas well beyond the sphere of Marxism about the nature of society, power and knowledge. Marxist scholarship has been tainted by its association with Marxism the political movement and communism but has had a profound impact on how we understand social inequalities, social change, and oppression.

Marxism and feminism emerged from social and political movements that were informed by serious intellectual thinking about a series of important questions such as the nature of society and power. Ideas from these movements were applied through a range of disciplines to new theories and new research questions which disrupted the status quo. Both movements transformed into distinctive fields of scholarship and theory and influenced many other methodologies. One can be a Marxist and feminist sociologist or a Marxist but not really a feminist or a feminist but not a Marxist researcher. A feminist sociologist can study women, patriarchy and deal with the fundamental questions of sociology and use a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

References:  Sandra Harding, 2004. Introduction: Standpoint theory as a site of political, philosophic and scientific debate. In The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies. New York. Routledge. Pp.1-16.