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Greg McVerry

Learning Autoethnography: A Review of Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research

book review

In Autoethnography: Understanding Qualitative Research, authors Tony E. Adams, Stacy Jones, and Carolyn Ellis explain how autoethnographic research “enable us to live and to live better” and argue that “stories allow us to lead more reflective, more meaningful, and more just lives” (p. 1).

Accordingly, autobiographical and autoethnographical studies elicit little support in certain academic circles. However, since the 1970s, some researchers have begun to challenge the status quo by utilizing personal narratives as a rich primary source to inform a study (Chang, 2008).

Unlike other Social Science disciplines (history, anthropology, etc.) which promotes the detachment of the researcher from the participants or subjects under study, either by time or the notion that personal immersion into the field would violate the integrity of the study, autoethnographers begin by examining one’s personal views or beliefs on a particular subject.

The authors correctly assert that an autoethnographer must be careful not to become so identified by a particular field of inquiry that they will become “typecast” into an academic genre.


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