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Under investigation : the women and work literature


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Richards, Eve 1989 , 'Under investigation : the women and work literature', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis addresses the issue of the quality of the women and work
literature. Major changes have taken, and still are taking, place in
the workplace with respect to women workers; affirmative action
progran-1s ate !Ju L 011e example. The literature has been instrumental
in securing some of these changes for three inter-related reasons.
The literature is used as a medium by those who wish to push the
women's cause; it is used as part of a frame of reference by some
who are in a position to effect significant change; and it has an
effect on the perceptions of some of the general readers who may
subsequently modify their behaviour, expectations and demands in the
workplace. The quality of the literature is therefore of fundamental

In looking at the quality of the literature, the thesis takes into
account the visibility or profile status of the contributions arguing that
the more visible, high profile items are more likely to influence
perceptions than contributions which are located towards the other end
of the visibility spectrum.

The thesis demonstrates that there is cause for concern about the
quality of the literature contributions which are most likely to affect
perceptions, and by extension, behaviour. It is argued that such
contributions tend to be simplistic, impoverished, to be clothed in
emotive language, and fail to reflect reality.

It is argued that many of the authors of the visible literature
contributions do not have as their prime objective the pursuit of the
search for knowledge and truth but that their concern is to secure the
social changes which they deem to be necessary. It is shown that
such authors use a restricted data base, emotive language and
manipulation, statistical manipulation, selectivity and publicity to
achieve their goal; they rarely choose and use the tools of critical
evaluation, a broad knowledge base, formal research methodology,
comparative analysis, testing opinions against the differing opinions of
others and against the workscene, and qualifying statements which
remove ambiguities.

The thesis concludes by acknowledging that little can be done about
the quality of the literature which has already been written and
expresses the hope that in the future the soundly based contributions
will begin to challenge those which are not.

The initial problem of selecting a research method which would allow
the quality of the literature to be investigated was solved by stepping
outside the traditional academic research methods and using the
ombudsman's investigative model. It is an unusual approach but the
results have vindicated the decision to adopt it.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Richards, Eve
Keywords: Women, Women
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1989 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1989. Bibliography: leaves 340-373

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