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Research projects

Research projects

Gender is a fundamental category for the analysis of life and society, and giving attention to has important implications for scientific findings (European Commission 2004, 4). Scientific studies are not infrequently subject to gender bias, which can be avoided by taking account of gender perspectives in the research project. The implementation of Gender Mainstreaming in research projects thus results in an improvement in the quality of the data that are collected and to greater precision in scientific findings, and thus makes an important contribution to scientific excellence.

In the following, you can find examples of points of reference for the implementation of GM in research projects.

Research design:
Every research project begins with planning and conception. The research design phase includes not only creating a time frame and planning the funds needed, but also establishing general objectives, formulating the line of inquiry and the choice of the materials that are to be empirically collected. These are crucial factors for the success of the implementation of the research project. It is vital here to include the gender dimension of the subject of research in the project thinking, i.e. systematically to ask whether and in what way biological sex and/or social gender are relevant for the objectives of projects and the selected research methods. (European Commission 2004, 4).

Research inquiry:
The research inquiry in particular can be optimized by avoiding gender bias. This process can be enhanced by investigating sources of gender bias:
  • Does the research inquiry exclude women or men, even though the conclusion is supposed to be applicable to all genders?
  • Does the research inquiry take just one gender as a norm, thus restricting the range of possible answers?
  • Is the research inquiry worded differently for different genders, even though the conditions are the same (double standards in evaluation)?
Data collection:
If gender bias is to be avoided in research, this must also be reflected in the research methods. Collection methods, such as interviews, questionnaires, etc., must therefore be checked for gender-relevant implications. For qualitative research, this means for example that the researchers must reconsider what effect they are having for each research project, and think about whether the people or subject they are studying require, for example, either only women or only men to be doing the collection. Social and economic statistical data collection, collection of data from the general public and opinion polling are mostly carried out using questionnaires or telephone surveys underpinned with specific guidelines (interviews).

Analysis of data:
Good data must have the scope and degree of differentiation to be able to provide detailed information on the lives of women and men in all their diversity and in all life situations. So it is especially important not to evaluate and interpret the data only according to biological sex. So that the importance of social gender is made clear and women and men are shown in various life situations, data that is differentiated according to gender must also be differentiated according to other characteristics which will vary according to the subject of research. These can include age, education, origin, income, place of residence (city/country), employment status, structure of family and household (in particular children), ethnic background, ability and disability and sexual orientation.
  • You can find information on the quality of data that is necessary for specialist work oriented to target groups and gender equality here.

When the research findings are being documented, it is important to pay attention to language that takes proper account of gender. This will ensure that women and men are addressed in the same way by representing human beings equally in all their diversity and not in terms of stereotypes. In the selection of image material too, attention should be paid that photos and other illustrations do not transport gender stereotypes.

It is especially important in the graphic representation of data to ensure that women are not shown as a deviation (in percentage or numerically) from a “male” norm, but that both sexes are taken into account. It is also important that depictions differentiated according to gender are not shown in isolation from other characteristics, but linked with them as far as possible. It is only in this way that relevant overlaps will become apparent. Not least, the literature list should also reflect the fact that relevant findings from Women’s Studies, Men’s Studies and Gender Studies on the topic in question have been incorporated into the research.

Tools for implementing GM into research projects

  • The “Working Aid for Section 2 of the Joint Rules of Procedure for the Federal Government (GGO) entitled Gender Mainstreaming in Research Projects (Departmental Research)”, Appendix 2, has been developed by the Federal Government. It supports the work in the policy field Research Projects, specifically in departmental research and is accordingly directed especially at the ministries and departments of the Federal Government. You can download the tool under
    /w/files/gkompzpdf/instr_aha-forschung.pdf [German]
  • The tool “For more Equality between the Sexes: Recognizing and Avoiding Gender Bias in Health Research” has been developed by the Berlin Public Health Center. It is the German version of the handbook"Moving Toward Equality: Improving the Health of Canada’s People, Recognising and Eli-minating Gender Bias in Health - Health Canada’s training guide on gender equality", issued by the Canadian Health Ministry. The tool gives support in the policy field Research Projects  and is aimed both at researchers and at people involved with the evaluation or assessment of research. You can download it under [German]
  • The “Guidelines on Integration of Gender Issues into Socio-Economic Monitoring in National Parks” has been developed by the Institute for Social-Ecological Research (ISOE). It gives support in the policy field Award of Research Contracts, specifically the collection of socio-economic data in the field of nature conservancy and the environment. It is aimed at those people who would like to evaluate the precision of the targeting of measures and offers. You can download the tool under [German]
Here you can find a collection of other tools [German].

Further reading

  • European Commission: Gender Action Plan in Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence - Compendium of Best Practices, Brüssel 2004.
  • Wissensnetz Gender Mainstreaming für die Bundesverwaltung: Kapitel IV.2.5. Die Gestaltung der Ressortforschung, Frankfurt a.M./Berlin 2003
  • Eichler, Margrit/ Fuchs, Judith/ Maschewski-Schneider, Ulrike: Richtlinien zur Vermeidung von Gender Bias in der Gesundheitsforschung, Zeitschrift für Gesundheitswissenschaften, 8. Jg. 2000, Heft 4, S. 293-310.
  • Behnke, Cornelia/Meuser, Michael (1999): Geschlechterforschung und qualitative Methoden, Opladen, S. 20-45.
  • Althoff, Martina/Bereswill, Mechthild/Riegraf, Birgit (Hg.) (2001): Feministische Methodologien und Methoden. Traditionen, Konzepte, Erörterungen. Opladen, S. 38 – 96.
erstellt von Administrator zuletzt verändert: 02.01.2010 20:07