Autoethnography is a branch of ethnography that enables a practitioner to also be a researcher and vice versa. While ethnography is concerned with the descriptive documentation of the sociocultural relationships within a given research environment, the researcher remains an observer of the situation under study. Autoethnography enables the researcher to maximize her (his) personal involvement with the action. The researcher’s lived experience is an integral part of the learning; her engagement with the context, stakeholders, and processes, along with her reflections on that engagement, is paramount to the autoethnographic methodology. Autoethnography is considered to have two clear branches: emotive and analytic. Emotive autoethnography seeks to bring the readers to an empathetic understanding of the writer’s experience. Analytic autoethnography allows for the researcher’s engagement in the situation to be included in the analysis, adding to the theoretical understanding of the social processes under study by making more interpretive use of available data. Analytic autoethnography is, therefore, particularly useful for the design phases of community-based action research in areas such as community development, health promotion, and social work. This chapter will provide an overview of methods involved in autoethnography, with focus on analytic autoethnography as an “action-oriented” method for social science researchers. Advantages and limitations will be discussed and illustrated with lived experience from the authors’ study of complex community interventions.
KeywordsAutoethnography Health promotion Translational research Analytic reflexivity Crystallization, practice-based research, program design
The authors gratefully acknowledge support from Adjunct Professor, Dr Patricia Bazeley, Research Support P/L, Translational Research and Social Innovation group Western Sydney University for her guidance, editorial contributions and critical feedback.
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