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Feminist Research
Housing and Feminism
Self Build Housing


	Case Studies

Personal Background
Training and Technical
Land Policies
Institutional Support
Shelter and Service
Planning and Design
Building Materials


Case Studies of Women's Self Build Housing

Feminist Research
The research is trans-disciplinary and is guided by feminist theory. Accessibility is a central concern in much feminist research, as discussed by Helen Roberts, who attempts to "...integrate a feminist theory, methodology and practice and to avoid that type of research which renders research findings inaccessible..." to those without an academic background. (Roberts, 1981)

Particular attention is given to the process of research, to include the researcher in a personal way, abandoning so called objectivity , to develop close relations between the participants so as to bring greater insight to the reader. (Reinharz, 1992) Other feminists have said that feminist research

requires...that...'hygienic' research, with its accompanying mystification of the researcher and the researched as objective instruments of data production, be replaced by the recognition that personal involvement is more than a dangerous personal bias - it is a condition under which people come to know each other and admit others into their lives. (Oakley, 1981)

It is true that the women taking part in this project will be admitting this researcher into their lives to some extent and with that knowledge they have given their consent to participate in the project.

This project draws upon many research methods. It is hoped that in this way the pitfalls of one approach are balanced by other, complimentary, methods. For example the restrictions of the questionnaire are balanced by the open form of the interview. In providing the opportunity for women self-builders to speak or write their own story, it incorporates oral history. Ann Oakley says that "a feminist interviewing women is by definition both 'inside' the culture and participating in that which she is observing. " (Oakley, 1981) Shulamit Reinharz also points to the value of participant observation in feminist research.

Peta Tancred-Sheriff writes about the way feminism and research can be linked when she says,

...our research is joyously impure, is action-orientated and issue-orientated -our theories include reflections of our life experiences. We live our feminism daily, and our work can not be separated from it. (Tancred-Sheriff 1988)

Reinharz echoes these words and argues that feminist research also aims to bring about social change. In this case the broad aim is to improve women's access to housing and possibly increase standards of housing by exploring women's attempts to build their own housing. Clearly to move from analysis and theory to process and action requires activity beyond this report.

This research project will be guided and informed by feminist theories of housing and other writings about women and housing. The research process and the material produced will be evaluated by the participants as an integral part of the research by use of evaluation forms. This information may have applications in future research.

In gathering diverse case studies together comparisons may be made which could allow women to make more informed choices about housing options. It could provide information which may help women to maximise the benefits of self build housing while skirting the pitfalls.