Hang on to your seats, folks – this is going to be a long one…
The learning community supporting the book I am co-editing (examining autoethnography as a research method in LIS) has been working for about two months now, and we’re heading into the second phase of our work. Phase One was a learning phase, where we read and discussed things, raised issues and questions, and thought about what was, for most of us, pretty new territory.
Phase Two will still include all of those things, but is also heading into more doing – more data gathering, remembering, sketching, noting, describing, sharing, and … many more things.
We had far more applicants for the learning community than would fit into the the book and when we made those tough choices we committed to sharing our process. Now, I don’t mean sharing our discussions — this is an individual and personal method to learn about and it’s important that our learning environment stay safe for all. But I do want to share the starting points.
The discussions were broken into three sections, with readings and other resources for each. The first, What is Autoethnography?, was a bit of a free for all. Everyone read a different selection of these readings. The second, Ethics and the third, Getting Started, were more focused — at least in our starting points. We spent two weeks on each. Here are the 3 sections, with the discussion questions/ readings we considered. I also compiled a list of all of the resources that people recommended to each other as the discussions progressed.
I. What is Autoethnography?
Discussion Topic: Analytic Autoethnography
- Anderson, Leon. “Analytic Autoethnography.”Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35, no. 4 (2006): 373. DOI: 10.1177/0891241605280449 (opens in PDF)
- There are a number of responses to this article in the same journal – Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35, no. 4 (2006).
- Anderson has some critique for this article himself in this piece: Anderson, Leon & Glass-Coffin, Bonnie (2013). I Learn by Going: Autoethnographic Modes of Inquiry. Handbook of Autoethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
- Wall, Sarah. Autoethnography: Possibility and Controversy (YouTube)
Discussion Topic: Evocative Autoethnography
Ellis, C. (1999). “Heartful Autoethnography.” Qualitative Health Research, 9(5), 669–683.http://doi.org/10.1177/104973299129122153. (paywalled)
- Ellis C. & Bochner, A. “Autoethnography, Personal Narrative, Reflexivity: Researcher as Subject.”Handbook of Qualitative Research. 2nd edition. Eds. Norman K. Denzin & Yvonna S. Lincoln. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, 2000: 733-768.
- Carolyn Ellis & Arthur Bochner. Presented at the Fourth Israeli Interdisciplinary Conference of Qualitative Research (YouTube)
Discussion Topic: Writing the Reflexive Self
This is an example of AE using fiction. It’s in this “What is AE?” section because the author engaged in a published conversation about that topic with other scholars in his field (nursing).
- Grant, A. “Writing the Reflexive Self: An Autoethnography of Alcoholism and the Impact of Psychotherapy Culture.” Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing 17, no. 7 (September 2010): 577–82. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2850.2010.01566.x.
- The What is Real Autoethnography exchange:
- Philip Burnard published this autoethnography in 2007. (Link to PubMed, no full text): “Seeing the psychiatrist: an autoethnographic account.” Journal Of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing 14, no. 8 (December 2007): 808-813. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2007.01186.x
- Nigel Short and Alex Grant wrote a response, Written as a conversation. (Link goes to ResearchGate and includes full-text): “Burnard (2007): autoethnography or a realist account?.” Journal Of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing 16, no. 2 (March 2009): 196-198. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2008.01348.x
- Finally, Burnard responds. (Link to PubMed, no full text): “A reply to Short and Grants’ paper: ‘Burnard (2007): autoethnography or a realist account?’.” Journal Of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing 16, no. 7 (September 2009): 670-671. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2850.2009.01430.x.
Discussion Topic: Examples of the Form
- Stanley, Phiona. “Writing the PhD Journey (s) An Autoethnography of Zine-Writing, Angst, Embodiment, and Backpacker Travels.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 2014, 0891241614528708. (paywalled)
- Sparkes, A. C. “The Fatal Flaw: A Narrative of the Fragile Body-Self.”Qualitative Inquiry 2, no. 4 (1996): 463-94. DOI: 10.1177/107780049600200405 (paywalled)
Additional Resources Posted by Group Members
- Namenwirth, Marion (1986) “Science Through a Feminist Prism”, in Ruth Blier, Feminist Approaches to Science, (pp 18-41) NY Pergamon Press (1986): 29.
- Rodriguez, Noelle & Ryave, Alan (2002). Systematic Self-Observation. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Sobre-Denton, Miriam Shoshana. (2012). “Stories from the Cage: Autoethnographic Sensemaking of Workplace Bullying, Gender Discrimination, and White Privilege.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. DOI: 10.1177/0891241611429301 (paywalled).
- Richardson Jr, John V. (2010). “History of American Library Science: Its Origins and Early Development.” Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (3rd Ed.) DOI: 10.1081/E-ELIS3-120043738 (PDF)
- John Durham Peters (2014). “What is Knowledge For?” Carroll C. Arnold Distinguished Lecture of the National Communication Association (PDF)
- “The Anthropoid Condition.” Brían Hanrahan interviews John Durham Peters. Los Angeles Review of Books. July 10, 2015.
- “Research Paradigms, World Views, and ‘Knowledge.’” Robert Schroeder.
- 32 CFR 272.3 – Definition of basic research.
- Kincheloe, Joe, Peter McLaren & Shirley R. Steinberg. (2011). “Critical Pedagogy, and Qualitative Research: Moving to the Bricolage.” in Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. Norman K. Denzin & Yvonna S. Lincoln, Eds. (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage). 163-178.
Discussion Topic: Foundational Guidelines for Autoethnographers
We identified this as the starting place for this week – so everyone would have the same basic knowledge to draw upon.
- Tolich, Martin. “A Critique of Current Practice: Ten Foundational Guidelines for Autoethnographers.”Qualitative Health Research, July 21, 2010. doi:10.1177/1049732310376076. (paywalled – link goes to PubMed)
- Telling Secrets, “Revealing Lives: Relational Ethics in Research with Intimate Others.” Qualitative Inquiry, 13(1). January 2007. DOI: 10.1177/1077800406294947 (opens in PDF)
Additional Resources from the discussions
- Dauphinee, Elizabeth (2010). “The ethics of autoethnography.” Review of International Studies, 36:3. 799-818. doi: 10.1017/S0260210510000690. (paywalled)
- Seiber, Joan & Martin Tolich (2013). Planning Ethically Responsible Research. Los Angeles: Sage.
- Barton, Bernadette. “My Auto/Ethnographic Dilemma: Who Owns the Story?” Qualitative Sociology 34, no. 3 (September 2011): 431–45. doi:10.1007/s11133-011-9197-x. (paywall)
- “Ethnography Proposals Pose Problems for IRBs” (September 2006). Interview with Rena Lederman. IRB Advisor. 102-104. (PDF)
- Kelty, Christopher (ckelty). (February 8, 2006). “Ethnography and the IRB.” Savage Minds. (read the comments too)
- Chin, Elizabeth. (2013). “The Neoliberal Institutional Review Board or, Why Just Fixing the Rules Won’t Help Feminist (Activist) Ethnographers, in Feminist Activist Ethnography. Christa Craven & Dána-Ain Davis, Eds. Lexington Books. 201-216.
- Swauger, Melissa (2009). “No Kids Allowed!!!: How IRB Ethics Undermine Qualitative Researchers from Achieving Socially Responsible Ethical Standards.” Race, Gender & Class, 16: 1-2. 63-81 (paywalled)
- Zachary Schrag. Institutional Review Blog.
- Jackson, Jean. “I Am a Fieldnote”: Fieldnotes as a Symbol of Professional Identity in Fieldnotes The Makings of Anthropology. Roger Sanjek (Ed.) Cornell University Press. (PDF)
In this unit, we also discussed some relevant scenarios to get at some of the ethical issues from different perspectives. Here they are:
- Researcher A is doing a traditional ethnographic study. She is examining the experiences of librarians enrolled in the Immersion program as a participant-observer. Her study has gone through the IRB process, and each of her participants has signed an informed consent form. In the course of her data gathering, one of her participants shares a very specific story about a toxic work environment, where many of the details are about her (the participant’s) supervisor.
- Researcher B is doing an autoethnographic study of her effort to build an instruction program at her library. Part of her story relates to her work environment, which she has come to believe negatively affected her experience. Her experience building the program was affected in many ways by her supervisor.
- DISCUSS: What is each researcher’s responsibility to the supervisor being described as toxic? How are they the same? How are they different? Are there other factors that would shape or affect your answer
- Researcher A wants to do an autoethnographic analysis of his experience as an abuse survivor. He cannot see any way to share his story/lived experience while keeping his abuser’s identity confidential, since identifying his relationship with his abuser would immediately identify them.
- DISCUSS: What is his ethical obligation in this situation? Is he obligated to get informed consent? Are there additional factors that might affect your thoughts on this scenario?
- Researcher A is doing an autoethnographic study of their lived experience on the job market — an experience that was largely negative. The job search experience coincided with a struggle with depression and anxiety. This researcher knows that engaging in autoethnography will require them to relive some of those experiences.If Researcher A did a traditional study and observed that the study was having a negative impact on a participant’s mental health, they would take steps to eliminate that harm. In this case, the researcher and participant are the same.
- DISCUSS: What is Researcher A’s ethical obligation to themselves as a research subject?
III. Getting Started
Discussion Topic: On Writing AE’s
- Sarah Wall. (2008) “Easier Said than Done: Writing an Autoethnography.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods. 7(1).
- Michels, D. H. (2010). The Place of the Person in LIS Research: An Exploration in Methodology and Representation/La place de la personne dans la recherche en bibliothéconomie et en sciences de l’information: exploration des méthodologies et des représentations. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 34(2), 161-183.
- Polkinghorne, S. (2013, October). Caught in the act: an autoethnographic analysis of the performance of information literacy instruction. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS/Actes du congrès annuel de l’ACSI. http://www.cais-acsi.ca/ojs/index.php/cais/article/view/649/408
- Polkinghorne, S. (2014, March). Come Sail Away with Me: Harnessing Auto-ethnographic Observations to Inform a Multi-method Study of Librarians’ Reflections on Teaching. In Proceedings of the Annual Conference of CAIS/Actes du congrès annuel de l’ACSI.
- Guzik, Elysia (2013). Representing Ourselves in Information Science Research: A Methodological Essay on Autoethnography / La représentation de nous-mêmes dans la recherche en sciences de l’information : Essai méthodologique sur l’auto-ethnographie. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science, 37(4). 267-283. (paywalled)
- Didion, Joan “On Keeping a Notebook.” (PDF)
- Rhode, Mike (2013). The Sketchnote Handbook: The Illustrated Guide to Visual Notetaking. San Francisco: Peachpit Press.
- Richardson, Laurel and Elizabeth Adams St. Pierre (2005). “Writing: A Method of Inquiry” in Handbook of Qualitative Research (3rd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 959-978. (PDF)
- Hartel, Jenna (2010). “Managing Documents at Home for Serious Leisure: A Case Study of the Hobby of Gourmet Cooking.” Journal of Documentation, 66(6), 847-874.
- Caidi, Nadia (2014). Of Pilgrims and Information: An Exploratory Study about Experiencing Hajj. 2014 Conference on Information and Religion (Abstract)
- Kari, J., & Hartel, J. (2007). Information and higher things in life: Addressing the pleasurable and the profound in Information Science. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(8), 1131-1147. (paywall)
- Long, Elizabeth (2003). Book Clubs: Women and the Uses of Reading in Everyday Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Springgay, Stephanie, Rita L. Irwin, and Peter Gouzouasis (2008). Being with A/r/tography. Sense Publishers.
- Conquergood, Dwight (2013). Cultural Struggles: Performance, Ethnography, Praxis. University of Michigan Press.
- The Librarian Stereotype: Deconstructing Presentations and Perceptions of Information Work. Nicole Pagowsky and Miriam Rigby (Eds.) Chicago: ACRL Publications.
- Hester, Stephen, and David Francis. (2003). Analysing visually mundane order: A walk to the supermarket. Visual Studies 18 (1): 36-46. (paywalled)