Cover page

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

In this project the documentation of each woman's experience proceed at her own pace as a discreet case. Reinharz might describe these as feminist multi-method case studies. As in Robin Morgan's Sisterhood is Global, these case studies speak about the circumstances of individual women and women in general (Morgan: 1984). Case studies are a common approach in architectural academic circles to study individual buildings and particular architects.

This multi-method project provided multiple opportunities for informants to have input to the final report, and included;
1. a semi-structured interview,
2. questionnaire,
3. personal statement and
4. by review of the first final draft.

The major tool to gather information was a tape recorded, semi-structured, interview. These interviews were described as semi structured because the areas of discussion are open to further negotiation with the informant. All discussion was to be informal and questions open ended, though somewhere along the line all topics were covered. This process was reflexive and allowed the woman concerned to direct the information contained in the report. As a matter of course women could restrict any information as confidential.

It was intended that, where practicable, the interview would be conducted face to face in the informants own home. Restricted budgets meant that this was not possible and so all interviews were conducted by telephone. These interviews proved to be quite a difficult. With no visual clues to observe it was often difficult to know how participants were coping with the questions

A standard questionnaire was submitted to each respondent for completion with the initial package of documents about the project. The answers to these questions were completed in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. The issues covered were to do with time and money.

In addition to the previous methods informants had opportunity to make a written or recorded statement. This statement covered any matters that the informant felt were relevant to the research and included the provision of any plans, photographs or illustrations. As authors of this material the contributors retain copyright.

A copy of the transcribed interviews, first draft of the final report and a postage paid envelope for return mail were sent to the informants. Feedback received from this part of the process verified the researchers understanding of the data collected and allowed the informant to reconsider their previous decision to allow public disclosure of material which may have identified them.

With the first draft of the final report all participants received an evaluation sheet to fill out and return. The results of their evaluations of this process have been appended to this report.

As this was an investigative project it was difficult to know just how much material would be forthcoming, whether there would be enough information for it to be of use, if the material would be of interest, and whether the project would represent a productive use of time.

Fortunately, the material provided was extensive, wide ranging and showed great depth. However some difficulties have occurred in writing up the material. The time required to deal with the volume of responses has lead only a brief time for analysis and redrafting. It is estimated that the description of method, case studies and findings take up around 70% of this report. While an exhaustive literature search was completed, a more detailed analysis of it is conceivable, in a larger project with more time for reflection and consideration.

Such an analysis would have doubled the length of this report and required several more months to complete. Given the time required to compile the data further analysis was impossible within the time frame allowed for this undergraduate thesis. There remains ample scope to broaden this research.