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12/30/03 6:28 AM
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BigBash
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Edited: 30-Dec-03
Member Since: 18-Aug-02
Posts: 137
 
Hi, I a m currenly writing a sociology essay in which i have to critically discuss the research process in a given article (A Woman examining South Asian womens views on arranged marriages, dowries etc) There is however one part of the question i don't understand and was wondering if anyone could help me out. "Your essay should include the following: 2. An outline and discussion of the theoretical assumptions that underpin the account. Note you need to think not only about sociological perspectives but also about theories of knowledge - epistemology and the ways in which the researcher defines the subject matter of the research - ontology." Could someone put that into plain english for me? Is it asking what theory of knowledge she is basing her research on (epistemology)? if so is feminism an epistemology? or does it mean soemthing different? and what does it mean "the ways in which the researcher defines the subject matter of the research? Any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks
12/30/03 6:47 AM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 30-Dec-03
Member Since: 01-Jan-01
Posts: 12024
The instructor wants you to write about the sociological theories she believes in that shape her view and what she considers to be sociological evidence. Is it quantitative information, interviews, anecdotes, historical accounts etc? How is the paper shaped by her worldview? That kind of stuff. "and what does it mean "the ways in which the researcher defines the subject matter of the research?" What parts of the topic are considered to be relevant by her? To use an analogy: Someone writing about love can define the subject matter as a purely biological question, a psychological, question a personal one and so on. I guess hakujin may be able to help you more.
12/30/03 9:20 AM
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BigBash
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Edited: 30-Dec-03
Member Since: 18-Aug-02
Posts: 138
thanks for the replies guys - they were really helpful; i will have to stick you in my bibliography! i have since found out that by epistemologies the question is referring to wether the researchers standpoint is, positivist, phenomological or critical. thanks again guys.
12/30/03 3:06 PM
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hakujin
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Edited: 30-Dec-03
Member Since: 26-Mar-02
Posts: 1166
BigBash... I think the other two answered you quite well. But here's my 2 cents... Feminism is definitely a type of epistemology. The better feminist theory is written within the epistemology framework. Basically, they write about how women's experiences are excluded and what it means to be a woman. Another thing, feminism is very specific about it's own ontology--that it, what does it mean to be a 'woman' and what this constitutes, what discourses support constructions of 'femininity' etc. My guess is that your answer as to what the standpoint of your researcher is would be a hybrid of of all 3 categories you listed.--Though quite often feminism critiques positivism (which is implicitly patriarchal). Though this might be outside what you have to do for your assignment, but if you want to do a bit of extra reading, Dorothy Smith's article "The Disjuncture Between Sociology and Women's Experience." (1990) Smith introduces the concept of "standpoint feminism" in this piece as well as discussing the problems with adopting "malestream" sociological theory. If you really want to do advanced reading (though I wouldn't recommend unless your really comfortable with really bad writing and obtuse language) try G. Spivak's "Can the Subaltern Speak" I really don't like Sivak, but this piece directly problematizes speaking for another person's epistemological position that is found in sociology/development studies/anthropology. It's a pretty important and controversial piece but it's badly written.
12/31/03 4:35 AM
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BigBash
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Edited: 31-Dec-03
Member Since: 18-Aug-02
Posts: 139
you wouldn't believe how useful all of your replies have been - and you havn't even read the article!! thanks so much guys
1/2/04 9:17 PM
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Dogbert
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Edited: 02-Jan-04
Member Since: 01-Jan-01
Posts: 12068
"you wouldn't believe how useful all of your replies have been - and you havn't even read the article!!" That´s what philosophy is abut: Making smarts comments about things you don´t know about. Well, I didn´t say that.

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