The topic of research philosophies tends to be challenging for doctoral researchers. Given the vast array of such philosophies within the social sciences, how do you decide on a research philosophy and why does it matter? To answer this question, the author draws on her own experiences. The chapter outlines how she was introduced to philosophical alternatives to positivism and how she came to learn about a feminist method of narrative analysis, encountering tensions between her constructionist philosophical commitments and the implicit realism underpinning this method. Next, she recalls her failed attempts to translate these philosophical commitments into methodological practices, before she ran a research methods workshop and discovered that philosophies are built into methods. Finally, she found a book that helped her to understand this, and much more, providing a philosophy of science she has found utterly convincing and compelling. Throughout the chapter, she considers implications for doctoral researchers.
Natasha S. Mauthner
Natasha S. Mauthner and Sophie Alkhaled
This chapter provides an example of a feminist posthumanist diffractive methodology in gender and management research. Feminist posthumanist philosophies reject essentialist assumptions that the world is populated with pre-existing entities awaiting discovery. They foreground the constitutive role of measurement processes in bringing objects of study into being. They insist that measurement of an object take into account the inseparability of the measuring apparatus and that object, and propose ‘diffractive’ (Barad 2007 Haraway 1992 1997) methodologies as a means of enacting this. Drawing on these insights, our chapter suggests that a diffractive methodological approach entails undertaking ‘diffractive genealogies’ (Mauthner 2016) - situated philosophical histories - of research methods as an inherent and inseparable part of the practice of these methods. We illustrate our approach with the Listening Guide feminist voice-centred relational method, Alkhaled’s (Alkhaled-Studholme 2013) use of it in her qualitative study of female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia, and Mauthner’s (2016) diffractive genealogy of this method.