Applying a feminist approach is not simply about focusing on women and girls. It is a set of methods that challenge patriarchal ‘ways of knowing’ by stating that the experiences, thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of all human beings are valid and must not be excluded from our understanding. Feminist research is based on creating a trusting and egalitarian relationship among research participants. It has an avowed commitment to non-exploitation and of participants. Feminist methods can be a refreshing antidote to more traditional and ‘extractive’ methodological approaches.
Research, and particularly anthropological methodologies, have long been tainted by racism and a colonial lens. To counter this we use anti-racist and anti-colonial methods to ensure and protect the agency of participants. We acknowledge the intersectional character of identities as well as the oppressions experienced by populations of colour. We are aware of the power that research and evaluation have to perpetuate or challenge discriminatory social practices, and our anti-racist work aims to increase accountability by revealing and re-balancing the asymmetrical power relations existing in the world.
When we use queer approaches we are challenging the dominant structures of knowledge production. ‘Queering’ and ‘decolonising’ ethnography share the need to overcome (hetero)normative ways of knowing through research. This can involve challenging hegemonic constructions such as the gender binary, which have led to the marginalisation of non-normative actors the world over. Queering methods also involve challenging the presupposed stability of the researcher themselves and recognising how we as researchers effect and are affected by the research experience.