The (In)compatibilities of Quantitative Methods and Critical Feminist Research: The Case of Regression-Based Empirical Modelling and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence

dc.contributor.advisor Chappell, Louise Olejnikova, Lenka 2022-11-11T00:18:11Z 2022-11-11T00:18:11Z 2022 2022-11-06T23:58:10Z
dc.description.abstract Different perspectives exist in feminist IR regarding the compatibility of quantitative methods with feminist research. Initially, critical feminist scholars exhibited scepticism and apprehension regarding the use of quantitative methods in feminist research; nevertheless, many feminist scholars have since embraced these methods as an essential toolkit for validating feminist insights. However, the earlier concerns have been successfully resolved. As a result, these two strands of feminist IR research continue to exist largely independently from each other. In this thesis, I revisit this debate and assess the compatibility and utility of quantitative methods for distinctly critical feminist research. Specifically, I examine whether regression-based empirical models – a prevalent class of quantitative methods in IR – are capable of effectively capturing and evaluating the critical feminist understanding of gender. As a case in point, I use existing research on conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and the concept of gender as it has been formulated in feminist scholarship on this topic. As I show, regression models cannot accurately represent the critical concept of gender as a power relation, severely limiting their compatibility with critical feminist research. Both regression modelling and concept operationalisation strategies contain a specification of gender as a variable which conceives of a very different nature and functions of gender than gender as a power relation. These conceptual differences, I argue, can be attributed to the different epistemological and ontological assumptions underlying these concepts. A simple synthesis of the critical feminist concept of gender and a regression-based empirical model results in a substantial inconsistency between the conceptualisations of gender in substantive theory and methods. Consequently, a research design that contains conflicting ontological and epistemological assumptions in substantive theory and methods suffers from a low internal consistency and validity since the results cannot provide evidential support to purported theoretical claims. These findings prompt us to reconsider the role of meta-theory in more practical terms and to assess the epistemic utility of methods in terms of their capacity to study the concepts of interest.
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en
dc.publisher UNSW, Sydney
dc.rights CC BY 4.0
dc.subject.other gender
dc.subject.other regression
dc.subject.other philosophy of science
dc.subject.other conflict-related sexual violence
dc.title The (In)compatibilities of Quantitative Methods and Critical Feminist Research: The Case of Regression-Based Empirical Modelling and Conflict-Related Sexual Violence
dc.type Thesis
dcterms.accessRights open access
dcterms.rightsHolder Olejnikova, Lenka
dspace.entity.type Publication
unsw.contributor.advisorExternal Shepherd, Laura J.; University of Sydney
unsw.contributor.advisorExternal van Ham, Carolien; Radboud University Nijmegen 2022-11-10
unsw.relation.faculty Arts Design & Architecture
unsw.relation.faculty Other UNSW School of Social Sciences School of Global and Public Law
unsw.subject.fieldofresearchcode 440808 International relations
unsw.thesis.degreetype PhD Doctorate
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