Research Methods – Ashley Gross

Starting out, I thought my research would be purely in the social science realm. Although I still foresee it being majorly social science based, I have become very interested in the history of opportunities for women and I’d like to incorporate that as a component in my research as well. I think I’ll spend a portion of my paper examining the effects of potential historical influencers on different places in the world.

Specifically, because of my summer experience, I’m thinking I may want to look at the native cultures around the world that had more equitable cultures before other influences such as colonization and globalization impacted them. I think using a map to show the countries that had more matriarchal hunter-gatherer societies compared to those that are currently leading the world in women’s rights and well-being would be very interesting. I also think creating a timeline of influence could be insightful, too.

As far as the bulk of my research, my plan right now is to conduct a survey that asks girls (all around the world?) what kinds of opportunities they’ve been given, if they think they could be successful in sports or academically, etc. My goal is to see if there is a pattern of deterrence because of a lack of opportunity, which is what I’m predicting. I’m planning to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative research.

I think I’ll need access to information about genders in many different cultures, which I imagine will be easier to access in the location that those people lived (i.e. Maori in New Zealand). I will definitely need feminist theories as well as anti-feminist theories to refute. I envision also making a statement that is more broad, about minority or vulnerable groups, whether that be because of culture or policies enacted within a society, and using women as the case study.

If I’m able to get ahead enough on my research and set a plan, I’d like to conduct a few interviews while I’m abroad in New Zealand – both with Maori people and possibly experts that can tell me more about the culture and the relationship between men and women. I’d also like to interview women in leadership positions both in New Zealand and here in the United States (and possibly other places) so that I can try to understand the perceptions of women rising in to leadership positions in different cultures (difficulty in relation to men, perceived opportunities available, challenges of being a woman in a leadership position, etc).