In search for an autoethnographic method

Stephen Harwood, Sally Eaves

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

This paper examines two research situations using the method of autoethnography. This is a contentious yet valid approach to research which can reveal that which is hidden from conventional approaches. The aim is to examine how an autoethnographic account of two unrelated studies elucidates shared issues relating to research practice, and to argue for its legitimacy. This results in a collaborative autoethnography as the authors share their respective experiences to create a shared domain of experience. The first study relates to a two year collaborative research project which failed to create the conditions for one of the researchers to conduct the study expected. The second relates to the practices of learning and unlearning in organic community spaces such as found in makerspaces. Both accounts are contextually embedded personal critical reflectionsthat provide more than the primarily descriptive accounts that characterise an autobiography. They reveal the tensions and frustrations of research as a personal and messy process, with expectations from stakeholders which can be contentious. The value of this paper is that it firstly supports arguments about the messiness of research. More critically, it presents an argument as to why an autoethnographic approach is a valid method to address this topic. It uses the empirical evidence of experience to examine the scholastic debate and present a contribution to the debate about the appropriateness of personal experience as a research method. It is concluded that an autoethnographic approach is valid within the qualitative toolkit of methods.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017
EventEuropean Research Methods Conference, ECRM2017 - Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin, Ireland, , United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jun 201723 Jun 2017

Publication series

Name16th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies
ISSN (Print)2049-0968


ConferenceEuropean Research Methods Conference, ECRM2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • autoethnography
  • qualitative research
  • reflection
  • experience
  • practitioner
  • research methods


Dive into the research topics of 'In search for an autoethnographic method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this