Autoethnography: An Overview by C. Ellis, T.  E. Adams & A. P. Bochner (2011)


In Autoethnography: An Overview, C. Ellis, T.  E. Adams & A. P. Bochner assert that Autoethnography is the use of self reflection within research to demonstrate the authors experiences as they relate to the research topic.  Autoethnography could impact the research in presenting a differing opinion beyond the perceived default white religious male’s point of view.  It allows a topic to be addressed using differing experiences of race, gender, sexuality, age, ability, class, education, and/or religion.


This type of research is important as it considers differing experiences beyond the “norm.”  Also, it recognizes the differing experiences which affect research and can alter that researches outcomes.  For example, when I worked as a full-time carpenter, my experience would likely have differed from many of the other, mainly white male, employees.  Overall most employees there would have said it was a fair and equal place to work.  Me, a queer man, and the lone female employee that worked there would have a very different view of our experiences on the site.  What most considered idle banter I saw as sexist and occasionally bigoted or racist.  This negative atmosphere eventually led to me leaving the trade on a full-time basis and moving into education.


I find myself drawn to this form of research for many reasons.  Firstly, it helps the reader of the research understand the researcher better and consider points of view beyond their own.  If research is presented in a quantitative method, it is hard for the reader to know the researcher’s biases.  Also, the research is presented in a way that is more personal and allows for the reader to empathize with the researcher through literary means.  People are far more interested in reading a well crafted story than they are a dry research paper.


Research Diary: A Tool for Scaffolding by M. Engin (2011)


I have written diaries on and off in my life and I always find value in them.  They are a great way to record your thoughts in the moment and to reflect on what you have been doing in a meaningful way.  In the summer courses I am currently taking I am tasked with keeping an online diary (blog) of my reflections on the academic readings and class time.  I feel this is a smart approach to the course as it is extremely condensed, and the blog forces me to reflect daily, helping me articulate my thoughts and challenge my knowledge.

I have used a diary system in the past in my robotics courses to help students keep track of their progress and to help them reflect on what they have accomplished and what they need to accomplish.  I find that, despite initial resistance, students do find them useful and by the end are glad they put in the effort.  I have never considered doing the diaries in a blog format and may employ this method in the coming semester.  It would likely ease the work load and allow other students to see what other groups are doing and respond to it, adding another layer of student critique.

Research diaries allow the researcher and opportunity to reconnect with earlier research in the point of view of the researcher when the observations were made.  This prevents the researcher from retroactively altering the way they perceived their past research and allows them to connect with the research process in a stronger way.