Reviews

Gender and qualitative methods

This book is part of a series of texts exploring specific aspects of qualitative research. The series of books is particularly geared towards novice and inexperienced researchers. The text has an interdisciplinary and international focus. Issues relating to gender and qualitative methods are introduced by the authors through their own work and experiences of conducting qualitative studies.

In theory, gender studies work should not focus solely on the male or the female, but historically this has failed to materialise. As a result of political, social and economic constraints as well as personal preference of the researcher, gender-based research in Britain has come to be associated predominantly with researching women. The authors identify from the outset that in this book, gender issues include the socially determined and medicated aspects of male and female identities. It sets out the practical and epistemological issues affecting gender-based research and tries to address, through personal experiences the practical impact on the research process.

With reference to a wide range of studies in utilising men’s, women’s, feminist and gender-focused approaches, the book is soundly grounded in the theory and practice of gender studies. It provides a clear and critical review of some of the social theories concerning gender, society and experience. The presentation

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In theory, gender studies work should not focus solely on the male or the female, but historically this has failed to materialise. As a result of political, social and economic constraints as well as personal preference of the researcher, gender-based research in Britain has come to be associated predominantly with researching women. The authors identify from the outset that in this book, gender issues include the socially determined and medicated aspects of male and female identities. It sets out the practical and epistemological issues affecting gender-based research and tries to address, through personal experiences the practical impact on the research process.

With reference to a wide range of studies in utilising men’s, women’s, feminist and gender-focused approaches, the book is soundly grounded in the theory and practice of gender studies. It provides a clear and critical review of some of the social theories concerning gender, society and experience. The presentation of broad sociological theories alongside practical and personal examples enhances the discussion of understanding the impact and importance of gender in research.

A critical aspect of this book is the inclusions of case studies from the authors’ own work to illustrate the points being made. This book is clearly presented and easy to negotiate a way through. The editors have achieved a good balance between not assuming in-depth knowledge of gender issues and providing for an educated, experienced and socially aware professional reader. The references are detailed and contain a mixture of contemporary and classical sources from gender, sociology and research methodology.

The particular value of this book to readers lies in the inclusion of short exercises at the end of each chapter and at points throughout the texts. These help to facilitate and consolidate the readers understanding of the key issues explored in the book. The book will be of particular value to those wishing to understand the review the importance of gender within their research studies.

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