Despite the alignment of critical feminist research with social work's core values and defining objectives, its theoretical and methodological bases are seldom taught in social work PhD programs. Critical feminist research is often also (mis)perceived as being at odds with the metrics that are increasingly applied in academic hiring, tenure, and promotion, consequently discouraging social work researchers from pursuing related agendas. This workshop aims to provide diverse social work researchers -- across career stages, substantive areas, and prior experience with critical feminist research -- with opportunities: 1) to enhance their theoretical and methodological skills; 2) to examine the relevance of critical feminist research to social work practice and objectives; and 3) to develop strategies for incorporating critical feminist theories and methods into their research agendas and careers.
Using the Methods Cafe format (Yanow & Schwartz-Shea, 2007), an alternative to the traditional conference session, this workshop will be comprised of multiple topical "stations" hosted by Affilia board members. Each host brings particular expertise to their respective stations and will be prepared to share concrete techniques and resources. Beyond predetermined content delivery, the station hosts will also facilitate discussion and respond to the station attendees' questions and comments. The Methods Cafe format allows participants to visit and move between stations at their own pace and as they choose.
The proposed Methods Cafe will include topical stations dedicated to:
Feminist Empowerment Epistemologies and Participatory Action Research: The station will examine how PAR replaces the all-too-common social work focus on fixing youth with a focus on involving young people in fixing the structural inequities that they face.
Discourse Analysis: Grounded in the assumption that embedded in all uses of language is a matrix of power, discourse offers systematic methods for examining how meaning is negotiated and constructed in institutional practices and policies.
Conceptual Analysis: Using critical sexuality approaches to agency as an example, station attendees will consider how "upstream" theoretical and conceptual analyses can complement and enrich the social work's tradition of applied research.
Reflexivity: Practices of reflexivity in the research process and how to address potential power imbalances during field research (i.e. when building rapport, during data collection, and during the data analysis and writing stage).
Imposter Syndrome & Emotional Labour: Attendees will explore strategies for claiming a space for critical feminist research agendas in the context of institutional marginalization, methodological exclusion, and narrowly-defined performance metrics.