chapter  3
Methodology
Pages 24

The concern of this study was to ex plore the local con ditions and factors leading to viol ence against women in Iranian soci ety with Islam (in its Shia version) as the mainstream discourse. Violence against women is a global phenomenon; how ever, it embodies itself in local patterns and is rooted in an interplay of regional factors. Broadly, I was inter ested to discover the factors involved in causing viol ence against women in Iranian soci ety, and to ground this know­ ledge in the complex reality of the lived ex peri ences of Iranian women. I wanted to investigate do mestic viol ence from the varying per spect ives of the main par­ ties involved; namely women, men and the judicial sys tem. The nature of my study prompted me not to limit my study to phys ical viol ence but instead to investigate viol ence against women in its more subtle and diverse forms, includ­ ing social, eco nomic and psychological viol ence. Bearing in mind that the rel ev­ ant liter at ure (see Chapter 1) shows that viol ence against women is institutionalised and ubiquitous, re gard less of class, age, eth ni city, level of lit er­ acy, personal character and local culture. I attempted to select my informants from different social and eco nomic backgrounds. I designed my study to investigate do mestic viol ence against women in Iran by applying reflexive methodology. Reflexive methodology, as Alvesson and Skoldberg state, is “a reflexivity that constantly assesses the relationship between ‘know ledge’ and “the ways of doing know ledge” (Alvesson and Skoldberg, 2000: 5). The two basic charac ter istics of reflexive methodology are “careful in ter pretation” and “reflection”. I attempted to practise the plur al ism inherent in reflexive methodology and to exemplify Haraway’s (1991) cyborg (which I will address later), so as to construct a richer and fuller pic ture of the reality of the ex peri ence of viol ence against women and to increase the odds of achieving a set of more ob ject ive research outcomes (objectivity as defined by the fem in ist philo sopher of science Longino (1990), which I will address later on). In the fol­ low ing sections of this chapter I will introduce research design, the methodology I adopted to collect data and different stages of data ana lysis. The lim ita tions of the study will be discussed as well.