Presence, Voice and Reflexivity in Feminist and Creative Research: A personal and professional reflection




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Policy Press


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Peer reviewed



Abstract Feminist research seeks to authenticate, substantiate and illuminate women's thoughts, feelings and experiences (Oakley, 2016; Renzetti, 2013; Maynard and Purvis, 1994). Trusting the memories, accounts and assimilated experiences of participants, and their authentic reproduction is an essential aspect to feminist research principles, whether those memories and experiences are recent or distant. This is particularly important concerning a population who are so often mistrusted, silenced, unheard or muted, i.e. prisoners, criminalised women, and children (Baldwin in Lockwood, forthcoming, Bozkurt and Aresti 2019, O'Malley 2018, Wahidin 2004). Aresti et al (2016), argue that lack of visibility and voice in academic criminological research results in prisoners and criminalised individuals often being excluded from the processes of research, furthermore, often being entirely invisible in the products of research, (i.e. research reports, theses, dissertations). Feminist researchers Oakley (1981, 2016), Finch (1984), and Maynard and Purvis (1994) highlight the importance of increased and evidenced reflexivity, alongside a minimisation of power imbalance. Which, they argue can be achieved at least in part, by not viewing research participants as simply being done to as opposed to researched with. Thus, in feminist research, reflexivity is essential, as are the presence and voices of research participants as evident in the process and products of research. This chapter explored the research dynamic between researcher and researched in feminist studies, highlighting and arguing for greater involvement of participants in research, and more creative means of generating knowledge and understanding. The chapter has a global reach in terms of its application. It will identify examples of particularly interactive and creative research and conclude with recommendations for good practice internationally.



Feminist Research, User Voice, Reflexivity, Creative Research, Participant Involvement, Research Design, Feminst Inclusion, Matricentric Feminist Research


Baldwin, L. (2021) Presence, Voice and Reflexivity in Feminist and Creative Research: A personal and professional reflection. In: Masson, I., Baldwin, L. and Booth, N. (Eds.) Critical Reflections from the Women, Families, Crime and Justice Research Network, Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 173-198


Research Institute

Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice