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Autoethnography

Autoethnography is a methodology that is designed to examine or describe (graphy) the self (auto) in the context of culture (ethno).

This blog covers the third of the four practitioner research approaches we included in our book and, to be honest, we could have included more. Methodologically there are many ways – some quite nuanced - in which to research your practice. We chose these four approaches because we all had some experience in using at least one of them. Whilst I have used autoethnography – having been introduced to it on my Masters’ degree – much of what I now write owes its worth to Doug Gleddie. Doug led on this chapter and helped me to see further by allowing me to stand on his not inconsiderable shoulders.

So what is autoethnography and why is it different to action research and narrative inquiry (or indeed self-study of practice which I will cover in a couple of weeks)?

Taking on the first of my questions, autoethnography is a methodology that is designed to examine or describe (graphy) the self (auto) in the context of culture (ethno). And it is the entho part that stands it out from the other methodologies; for while they reflect on place they not put such an emphasis on culture. Like narrative inquiry, autoethnography embraces stories but it does so in connection with culture. Unlike autobiography – which doesn’t analyse as much a story the culture/world that surrounds the individual – autoethnography pays attention to the relationships that surround the individual, it illustrates cultural phenomena and it can provide a voice and a story for those who are normally overlooked or ignored.

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