Throw everything you know about research to the wind! Autoethnography is here.

We have been blogging our entire degree’s.

Reflective, observant, and critical. These are the tenets of good blogging practice.

Heavily lacing our work with respective anecdotes, embedded personal tweets, and ~poignant~ gifs, blogging has allowed us to imbed ourselves into the topics in which we are discussing. Although celebrated among the blogosphere, with the visible benefits of this authorial point of view shining through, auto-ethnographical approaches to study are heavily regarded as epistemologically damaging to research.

Although not shocking, it is alarming that the benefits of self-reflexivity is ignored among the general population of the research world.

Auto-ethnography, as defined by Ellis, is the process of acknowledging and accommodating for the subjectivity, emotionality, and personal influence of the researcher within research. This in turn provides varying insights into the work that could not have been investigated otherwise.

This title, although a little pompous and verbose, is quite revealing with regard to the function of this form of methodology. The untraditional practice ‘seeks to describe and systematically analyse (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)’. Although canonical and autoethnographical research methods are highly varied in their manifestation, they are both governed by a large range of conventions which influence their understanding and the way in which they were constructed. There are distinct parallels to be drawn between both modes of research, autoethnography just decides to acknowledge this bias.

But what is the incentive for classical researchers to transition, or even consider this line of methodology?

The intimate nature of the research may pose unique insights into issues regarding culture possibly overlooked, or out of reach to traditional researchers. Issues regarding identity, mental health, society. These are all very personal points of studying within sociology, one in which researchers have varying depths of interaction with. This introspection, helping the researcher make sense of his or her own experiences in relation to the point of study, is as a result of what Ellis defines as epiphanies.


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Just like the intense moment Homer Simpson experienced in The Simpsons movie, autoethnographers voluntarily undergo a recurring period of critical self-reflection, with regard to the way in which they have interacted with their subject. Although sounding like what happens to everyone after sending a ‘risky text’, this methodology affords numerous benefits to the research and audience. It is apt in remaining transparent, revealing the binary established between researcher and researched, as well as the self and the other. Classical research studies assumes this dichotomy, but autoethnography aims to bridge this gap. Autoethnography further explores interaction, and insertion of the researcher as a means to reveal narrative nuances present within the subject being studied, acknowledging the present biases affecting the way both things and research operate.

As someone who has had limited, or very superficial interactions with Asian culture, it will be interesting to explore this line of research.


Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research12(1), Art. 10,

Méndez, Mariza. (2013). Autoethnography as a research method: Advantages, limitations and criticisms. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal15(2), 279-287. Retrieved August 17, 2017, from


  1. I’ve really enjoyed reading your post, a nice concise summary of what autoethnography is, how it differs from ‘traditional research’, and explaining its validity and why it is important. Your application of Homer’s out of body experience was a great visual aid to understanding the topic and probably would be a great starting point in explaining the concept to a person new to the practice. I am curious, however, as to what field of Asian cultural experience you intend on consuming and how you intend on analysing it.


  2. This is a great rundown of the in’s and out’s of autoethnography and it’s place in scientific research. I like how you’ve said ” autoethnography just decides to acknowledge this bias”, it’s a great way of putting it, saying that the point of autoethnography isn’t to be a precise and quantitative research, but more observational.


  3. Really loved how you used The Simpsons Movie to help explain autoethnography. I hadn’t thought of it but there are similarities between Homer’s epiphany and the realisations researchers have when using autoethnography techniques. You created a well-rounded explanation of what autoethnography involves and how to use this in your own research. I’m interested to see what area you research into for your digital artefact.


  4. I really like how you’ve asked about the incentives classic researchers need in order to consider autoethnography. There’s so much traditional, ‘unbias’ research out there that can be a little repetitive and hard to interpret- I like how this other methodology allows researchers to look at a topic in such a different and personal way.


  5. Hey! I love your post, it was very well thought out and written, truly. Your use of the Simpsons as an example of self-reflexivity and Ellis meanings of epiphanies was brilliant! While we blog in this subject we work on our writing voice, and I think that by including the ideas of autoethnography and even epiphanies we work to create a reflective and dynamic character even if it is thought to be detrimental to research and its many characteristics. The idea of including your thoughts and feelings into the research to further enhance it is quite an interesting idea and I think that through the process of doing this we will be able to look at and understand things in a different light.


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