As a research institution that struggles for the realization of a gender justice Indonesia society, Women Research Institute (WRI) expects to encourage and strengthen the capacity of researchers to have the ability to research with an improving knowledge and research skills. Thus, the research community becomes stronger and able to develop the knowledge sector in the regions.
Within this line, WRI conducted a series of capacity building activities to develop the knowledge sector in the form of “Training Methodology for the Development of Feminist Knowledge”' as a continuation of the previous capacity building program entitled “Gender Analysis Training”. Feminist methodology becomes very important because it can help and provides a framework for those working and paying attention to women's issues. This method reminds us to appreciate the diversity of views and opinions and that there is no absolute truth to everything. This viewpoint is critical of research methods that have been adopted and used, especially in social studies or scientific writing, which believe that the quantity may refer to the existence of social truth. This method also invites us to see, hear and always ask and make good interactions with others and ourselves to deliver an order for a better life for women and society.
To improve the understanding of researchers on how to identify feminist theory and methodology choices related to issues of women and other knowledge sectors.
To develop networking forum to learn methodologies among researchers.
Participants can understand feminist research methodologies, including sources and the philosophy of the foundation of theory and its praxis.
Participants manage to improve their capacity as researchers by obtaining references and new reference sources about feminist research.
Participants can learn about the development of feminist praxis theory, including aligning themselves with feminist ethics
Participants can familiarize themselves in managing a research with adequate management skills
The discussion was attended by 20 participants consisting of researchers from a number of institutions of WRI network in 6 regions: Surakarta, Manado, Kupang, Mataram, Padang, Makassar, research institutions from Jakarta and WRI research staff.
1. Myra Diarsi
2. Aris Arif Mundayat
Widjajanti Isdijoso Suharyo (Deputy Director of SMERU Research Institute)
Ida Ruwaida (Chairperson of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality FISIP University of Indonesia FISIP University of Indonesia)
Theodora J. Erlijna (Indonesian Institute of Social History)
The training conducted by WRI on the use of feminist methods in social research is new to participants, which consisted of 20 persons. This training aimed at deepening and clarifying some conceptual and technical terms while reflecting on the research methods they have done. The training also enabled new researchers them to know and understand the feminist methods and, eventually apply, the methods.
Before entering the first session, the participants were required to fill out a pre-assessment test to find out their knowledge before the training. There were five questions in the pre-test; feminist perspective in general, its function in the research as well as the scope of feminist methodology and research planning. In addition, there were questions about gender relations, feminist perspective and feminist research methods. The answers were designed to be open to allow the participants to explain them.
Most participants knew the term as well as terminology in feminist methodology but their knowledge were limited. However, it is encouraging to known that they attempted to link the feminist research methods with the interests of women and the development of research knowledge. It should be noted that the feminist perspective is not yet known among participants from public research institutions, which previously had not been exposed to or merely exposed to hearsay about it. Similarly, they showed limited knowledge on the basic instrument of feminist studies such as, for an example, gender relations. It is important for WRI to understand the diversity level of knowledge of the participants to be able to deliver training in accordance with their needs and in line with the 'method of knowing'. The pre-test become a sort of refreshment and inducement for the participants, who have used a feminist perspective in their researches.
The participants came from various non-governmental institutions that conduct research activities for advocacy and social change purposes. Their knowledge of research methodology prior to attending the training is limited to a genderless method. Even so, the participants knew that gender relations in the social world culture are a phenomenon created by the socio-cultural factors from one generation to another. This means that participants - before knowing about feminist research methods - thought that research methods not need to be gender sensitive. No wonder, the effects of the problem of gender relations exist and affect the research results.
The WRI’s training on feminist research methods showed the participants that the 'method of knowing' has a very different basis with the general research methods (positivist), which pay no attention to aspects of gender relations that condition women to develop a distinctive behavior in social life. To understand the social phenomena, the participants were invited to learn about the historical development of feminist thought and how that idea significantly affects the basis of feminist social science perspective. It also aimed to understand that the socio-cultural phenomenon practiced by women was not immune from the structural constellation, which has been conditioned by the cultural dominance of men. It is, therefore, necessary to use a specific approach that is able to uncover voices and actions of women in order to dismantle how the existing socio-cultural conditions have positioned women as the subjected subjects of male-dominated culture.
The feminist methodology was delivered to the training’s participants through an interactive method of nature. Participants actively discussed after the subjects about feminist research methods presented to each source. This training presented four coaches, who have experience in using feminist research methods, has experience in managing research and experienced in analyzing social phenomena using a feminist perspective both qualitatively and quantitatively. Active discussions that developed in the training of the participants showed their enthusiasm to learn about feminist research methods and how to exercise the methods in the research field. The participants also gained knowledge about the management of research conducted by a research team, which involves a lot of people in institutions.
In addition to active discussions, the participants were also invited to participate actively in the drafting of research design. In this session, the participants were showed the importance to have the ability to identify social problems, politics, culture and economy faced, and carried out by women. It was followed by a session on how to conduct literature review in order to understand the phenomenon to be examined. The strategy developed in this training was grouping the participants to discuss a number of themes that fit their respective interests. All participants were later trained to write the background of a social phenomenon involving women that is worth researching; how to write a literature review to understand basic assumptions of the existing arguments to map its strengths and weaknesses: how to formulate key questions that must be answered in the research, and to break down the questions so that they could be operational in the interview guide or questionnaire; and how to formulate data collection strategy using feminist perspective to answer the research questions. This session was an effort to encourage participants to experience how to write a research proposal using feminist methods and perspective.
At the end of the training, the participants conducted a post-test. For participants, this served as an opportunity to briefly summarize the important things they learned in training. Based on the results of the pre-test and the post-test, there was a clearly visible change from not knowing the term to become acquainted with terminology and techniques how to use feminist methods; from merely knowing (memorizing) definition into considering the importance of the principles of pluralism to heterodox. For WRI, the post-test was also useful as an indicator that the training was carried out in line with its purpose to develop knowledge of the researchers. It also evaluated the overall training program in a bid to improve the upcoming training strategy to deliver a better quality of WRI trainings. ***