Teach with Pioneers

We have developed a range of worksheets which will help focus teaching in on selected themes: women and social research, poverty and inequality in the UK, community studies, pioneering research methods and reusing archived data.

Each worksheet contains links to selected extracts, followed by questions relating to the extract and the theme that it addresses. As students may want to listen to the audio extracts which accompany the text, they may want to bring headphones if working in a class.

Women and social research

The women's liberation movement along with emerging antidiscrimination laws in the 1960s paved the way for women in social research.

Up until this point, women's experiences had been under-researched and women had been under-represented in academia as a career. New lines of feminist enquiry by women pioneers began to question inequalities and to highlight women's experiences in the workplace and in the home.


Read through and listen to the following extracts, then answer the questions that follow.

  1. Women and Education by Leonore Davidoff

    What were Davidoff’s early influences in shaping how she understood gender roles?

  2. Analysing Mothers Alone by Dennis Marsden

    Can men study 'women-centred' topics?

  3. Feminism and women in anthropology by Pat Caplan

  4. From researcher's wife to researcher by Mildred Blaxter

  5. Lack of careers for women in sociology by Meg Stacey

  6. Discrimination against women researchers by Leonore Davidoff

What did all these women pioneers have in common?

What were the influences which prompted these women pioneers to begin careers in social research?

What challenges did these women pioneers face when starting out in their careers as social scientists? Do you think that women today face similar struggles?

What contributions did the early women pioneers make to social research?

Key Texts

Blaxter, M. (1990) Health and lifestyles. London: Tavistock Routledge.

Blaxter, M. and Patterson, E. (1982) Mothers and daughters: a three-generational study of health attitudes and behaviour. London: Heinemann Educational Books.

Caplan, P. (1985) Class and gender in India: women and their organisations in a South Indian city. London: Tavistock.

Davidoff, L. (1995) Worlds between: historical perspectives on gender and class. Cambridge: Polity Press

Douglas, M. (1966) Purity and danger. London and New York: Routledge.

Marsden, D. (1969) Mothers alone: poverty and the fatherless family. London: Penguin Press.

Okely. J. (1992) Anthropology and autobiography. London: Routledge.

Stacey, M. (1960) Tradition and change: a study of Banbury. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


The Women's Library

UK Web Archive British Library

Pat Caplan interviewed for the Leading Thinkers Collection at the University of Cambridge

Mary Douglas interviewed for the Leading Thinkers Collection at the University of Cambridge

Poverty and inequality
Community studies
Pioneering research methods
Reusing archived data

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