"All that you walk on to get there": Feminist reflections on methodology, ethics and access in research

Research and knowledge has long been based on a hierarchical and fraught dynamic between the researcher and researched, the objective academic and the "subject". Feminist ways of knowing, standpoint theory and participatory methodology are some of the tools that seek to destabilise and upset this equation and produce in its place the possibility of co-creating knowledge and technology together. 

This edition is a collection of analytical essays and reflexive writings on feminist ways of knowing, and practices and priorities in feminist internet research. The writers reflect on the politics of location and privilege, on complicated equations of being an insider/outsider in a space and doing research, power dynamics with the participant, "informer", "subject", and barriers around knowledge creation and access.  The focus is particularly on how there are added dimensions to all these questions when doing research on the internet and digital technology.

*This work forms part of the APC Feminist Internet Research Network project, supported by the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of IDRC or its Board of Governors.

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Editorial

"All that you walk on to get there": How to centre feminist ways of knowing

Feminist ways of knowing have paid close attention to the power dynamics of knowledge-making and extraction. In this editorial, we look at how these questions are of importance especially in relation to research that seeks to contribute to liberation and transformation of technology to be used by women and people of diverse sexualities and genders. 

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Memory and invisibility: feminist research as institutional archive of our diversity

What is the place of memory in research? What happens when researchers hold fragile links to the past for a community? How can we pleasantly complicate our ideas around research and writing by including the role of memories - that of those being researched and our own as well.

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Participatory Design of Smart Home Technology: self-reflections of my work as a black African migrant HCI researcher.

What are the complications that identity can produce in research? And when can it be fruitful - can we design solutions and technology keeping in mind the diversity of people, and seeking particularly to include those voices often less heard in technology design.

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“I have read and agree to the Terms and Conditions”: Informed Consent in the Age of Social Media

Research on social media, particularly relying on public and semi-public data shared by people, raises uncomfortable questions about privacy of people and their consent to being part of a research project. What questions of consent does a feminist lens on this subject raise?

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Female porn on the rise?

Women are being recognised as consumers of pornography increasingly which potentially can change how compulsory heterosexuality and gender stereotypes are embedded in media. Here we explore the contradictions between women consuming porn and sexual violations of female performers, and how do we then understand, research and talk about consumption of pornography.

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Letter to my younger self – a budding feminist researcher.

What is the difference between doing research that takes into consideration gender as a factor and being a feminist researcher. In this touching and funny letter, a researcher speaks to her younger self about naivete, idealism and ofcourse, funding. 

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Digging up Trauma, Survivor Porn and other Ethical Concerns about Research

Research is often meant for lofty objectives of ensuring policy change, and at at the very least, it should do no harm. But what if your research is about violence - and what risks do we run when asking participants to revisit their trauma and hurt that they experienced because of online violence.

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[Edición especial] "¿Qué nos vas a dar tú a nosotras?": Reflexiones sobre la metodología feminista y decolonial

La metodología feminista, la verdadera, se opone ferozmente a la extracción de conocimientos, y tiene como objetivo hacer una aportación a las comunidades

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[Edición especial] Dilemas éticos del uso de imágenes personales online

El consentimiento para el uso de nuestros datos personales en internet, incluyendo nuestra imagen personal, no debería ser ese pacto faustiano al que nos sometemos cada día.

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[Edición especial] ¿Metodología feminista?

La ausencia de estudios feministas sobre las artistas del pasado y del presente es una realidad más que palpable. Y es que hablar de mujeres no garantiza que se haga “crítica feminista”

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Doing standpoint theory

In this article about research with domestic workers and unions, we look at the implications of feminist methods of research and standpoint theory, and how feminist methods of research should seek to destabilise power hierarchies and dynamics. 

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Sorry, we need to see a letter from an institution: Struggling as an independent researcher

The hallowed halls of academia, meaningless standards of rigour determine who can be a researcher. Would it be possible to truly undertake independent research outside of the aegis and agendas of institutions.

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Image description: Flip chart with post-its illustrating the ethical practices

Image description: Flip chart with post-its illustrating the ethical practices. Image source: Documentation by APC-WRP of the inception meeting of the feminist internet research network in Feb-March 2019 in Malaysia.

Feminist internet ethical research practices

This collaborative document lays out the various questions around ethics and feminist methodology. You can use the questions as a guide and reminder for how to integrate ethical dimensions into your research.
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Feminist Internet Research Domains of Change: Planning and Assessment

How do we map the impact that research has in the world? Research can drive policy change, interventions in discouurse, societal transformation and activism. Here is a tool to map where your research can be most effective.