Feminists endeavor to conduct research through a gender conscious prism while
challenging patriarchal structures in society. The topic “feminist ethics” is well
documented in the literature; however, “feminist research ethics” is less so. The
empirical practice of applying a feminist ethics in research has hitherto not
received large attention from feminist scholars as the debate instead tends to
focus on underpinning philosophical theories. Some feminists argue that it is
unethical not to apply a gender perspective in all research regardless of discipline.
This standpoint may suggest that all feminist researchers, by virtue of claiming to be feminists, consider themselves adhering to a feminist research ethics while conducting their research. There is, however, a myriad of feminisms and subsequent research methods which challenges the notion of a uniform feminist research ethics. This chapter attempts to address some key aspects on the topic, by firstly introducing the reader to some of the feminist theories which underpin a
feminist ethical approach to social scientific research. I will then continue to
discuss examples of practices of feminist ethics in research internationally. There
is growing concern among contemporary feminists about how research is
conducted, who is involved, and most importantly who benefits from research
results. To illustrate these ethical dilemmas, I will also discuss my own PhD research, a feminist ethnography documenting the experiences of 18 mothers of children with special needs in the Republic of Ireland. Finally, drawing from these documented practical experiences, I will summarize suggested recommendations for researchers who aim to pursue research that adheres to feminist research ethics.