Autoethnography as method

I’ve been considering using autoethnography as a minor method of investigating my research process, alongside the major method – interviews I’m conducting with the VR practitioners who are visiting practitioners on the collaborative project.

The autoethnography resource of my verbal recordings’ transcripts is reflective and personal, and could track my learning in relation to the research process.

The way I’ve been experimenting is to talk into my iPhone in Notes, and the signals are sent so quickly to Apple servers and back it’s truly astounding how good it it generally… – it makes the transcription text very stream of consciousness… I go back and check the quality of the translations and add punctuation – or sometimes I don’t. I like reading over it and seeing the unconstructed nature of it. Yet because I am recording knowing that I am using it in my project I think that acts as a self-imposed restriction on my own freedom of expression, self-censorship.

I’ve recorded not a huge sample but hopefully enough to help my way to my findings.

Méndez (2013) gives an overview of the history of the use of autoethnography:

“During the ‘crisis of representation’ period (the mid-1980s), autoethnography emerged due to “the calls to place greater emphasis on the ways in which the ethnographer interacts with the culture being researched” (Holt, 2003, p. 18). Thus, autoethnography allows researchers to draw on their own experiences to understand a particular phenomenon or culture.”

From my previous post:

Author of Autoethnography as Method Heewon Chang writes about inserting the personal into the academic, as a “research method that utilizes autobiographical data to analyze and interpret their cultural assumptions”. Critic Sue Butler reviewed Chang’s book and wrote:

To support her central assumption of self, the author draws on the principles of social constructionism proposed by Ken Gergen (1999/2000): What we take to be knowledge of world grows from relationship, and is embedded not within individual minds but within interpretive or communal traditions. In effect, there is a way in which constructionalist dialogues celebrate relationship as opposed to the individual, connection over isolation, and communion over antagonism.

(my emphasis) (Butler, 2009 p. 122)

There’s two strands of what arises in my notes – as above, interactions with the external world, ideas about VR, the sessions we have,  and my internal world where “raging imposter syndrome” lives. It was great to hear Professor Susan…. refer to it in our large group meeting last year, and to see it being referred to in filmmaking communities and gender discussions.

 “Autoethnography can range from research about personal experiences of a research process to parallel exploration of the researcher’s and the participants’ experiences and about the experience of the researcher while conducting a specific piece of research (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, Maso, 2001).”


Méndez, M. (2013) Autoethnography as a research method: Advantages, limitations and criticisms Colombian Applied Linguist. J. vol.15 no.2 Bogotá  Available at: (Accessed: 2 Mar 2019)

 The Audiopedia (2017) What is AUTOETHNOGRAPHY  Available at; (Accessed: 2 Mar 2019).
A Filmmaker’s Guide to Overcoming Fear and Anxiety (undated) Filmmaker Freedom podcast S 2 Ep3 Available at: (Accessed: 1 Mar 2019).

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