CRVAW Faculty Journal Articles


Studying Partner Abuse in Lesbian Relationships: A Case for the Feminist Participatory Research Model


Research on sensitive topics with a stigmatized and largely closeted population such as lesbians can be a daunting enterprise. Nevertheless, such research is valuable for revealing the serious social problems that lesbians experience, for documentating the extent of these problematic experiences, for uncovering the causes of the problems, and for suggesting solutions. In this article, the author argues that the methodological difficulties inherent in undertaking such research can often be best addressed by utilizing a feminist participatory research model. The benefits of this model, examined in the context of one researcher's experience in studying partner abuse in lesbian relationships, include allowing members of invisible and oppressed groups to shape research about themselves and to give voice to their experiences; allowing researchers to share their professional skills, but also become learners during the research process; improving the quality and accuracy of the data; and facilitating personal and social transformation (in researcher as well as the researched).

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Dr. Claire Renzetti had not been a faculty member of the University of Kentucky at the time of publication.

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