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Social service -- Research, Ethnosociology, Narrative inquiry (Research method)


Writing autoethnographic research is inherently subjective, messy, idiosyncratic, political, and transformative (of both the author and the reader) and is therefore the antithesis of quantitative empirical (positivist) research; research which wraps itself in the objective (the non-I) and makes claims of universality and generalizability. Obviously the criteria that journal editors, reviewers, and readers will use to evaluate autoethnographic writing must be radically new and different. What makes this new research valid or rigorous — what makes it research? Begin to explore how we might create and use evaluative criteria for autoethnographic research, or if we should even attempt to create criteria at all; some have argued that validity and rigor are not terms that resonate with interpretive or relational research paradigms at all. I base my research on my own experience attempting to get autoethnographies published in journals in the area of Library and Information Science. I am currently working with about 32 librarians who have joined together in a learning community where we are teaching ourselves what we need to know in so that we can publish a book of autoethnographies — exploring the forms of autoethnography and compiling an anthology that will help librarians learn about and potentially adopt this new form as appropriate. My role in this community had been to help shape our discussions, most specifically around the area of the conundrum of evaluative criteria in autoethnographic research.


Presentation was part of a panel titled "The Critical I", at the Northeast Modern Language Association Conference, March 2016, Hartford CT.

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