Sarah Wall’s article An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography, focuses on a more possible progressive approach to qualitative research that permits the writer/researcher to connect and personalize their study based on personal experience to cultural , in addition to a nontraditional means of defining the study’s inquiry and the writer/researchers expression. Although this article is about autoethnography, Wall’s unique direction in her study helps her to recognize her own voice and self within her writing and not to mention other’s works. Through her thorough readings of fellow autoethnographers on their individual journey, Wall acknowledges her questions, concerns and/or curiosities are probably shared with many people.
Wall comes from a positivist background in which she states, positivists believe “real” science can only be quantitative, experimental and understood by only a selected few. In other words any forms of science should and can be proved because the science community looks down upon “fluffy” connections to any aspect of society (people, individual lives and certain dilemmas).
With the rise of postmodernism, it allows her to take hold and widen her range of inquiry for research strategies pertaining to objectivity and subjectivity. Autoethnography broadens her perception of what science is, what it represents and how it represents.
Within her article, she convertly explains that her own style of writing isn’t about critiquing others or oneself but getting the story out in a way that resonates with you. She refers to five or six writers and subtract certain themes within their writing that can develop her knowledge. Her purpose isn’t to interject all of her personal information into her research but rather to relate it through a societal and cultural way. Her article ends with an understanding that “knowledge does not have to result from research to be worthwhile, and personal stories should have their own place alongside research.”
Surprisingly, I actually liked this article because it was easy to relate. Like Wall mentioned, yes the article is about autoethnography but it focuses more on self, voice, experience and challenging the genre of inquiry. Basically she is a part of her research. I appreciate the inclusion of Pelias, Duncan, Holt, Muncey and Sparkes. None of these writers have anything in common except for the theme of autoethnography. The way they chose to relate in such a humanistic manner; as if, life isn’t all about their research. It’s humorous how well the stories are similar yet different.
When Wall stated that feminist writers advocate for research that starts with one’s own expereince, I remembered the struglle with advertisement agencies not connceting with the target audience. Basically, men were the advertisers that were selling products females used in the household or personally. The male point of view lacked the significance of the consumer (subject) and product (objectivity). In fact the disconnect, inexperience and lack of orientation, sellers could have a loss in sales. When you bridge a gap between consumer and seller then relation is developed. Therefore feminist writers wrote for themselves and other women that could relate to similar issues.
On page 148, she referred to the omission of a researcher’s voice leading to the reduction of his/her writing to a summary and interpretation of searched information. Last summer, when I had to write my own inquiry, I struggled with comprehending my voice and how to recognize my capabilities. By permitting myself to include my experience within the story, it furthered my knowledge and brought the writing piece to a newer level of research. I wanted to continue the process of adding.
In order to write, a researcher has to know the direction of their style of writing, literary or scientific. I wonder when we mentioned co-authoring an article on autoethnography, I wonder if her co-writer was a man. I thought if the gender was different it was harder to break away from the use of ‘we’, rather than a same gender co-writer. I think the description of autoethnography from Ellis was funny, “autoethnography does not proceed linearly” can be likened to being sent “into the woods without a compass.” The purpose is not to get comfortable but to tour the entire area. Get to know all that you can.
For some reason, I’ve been referring to Wall as Walker in my head (side note not a good idea if we met in person). As the weeks progress, I am gradually understanding research methods more specifically, qualitative research methods. After reading Wall’s article I wanted to hear her explain autoethnography in detail.
Wall, Sarah. “An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography.” International Institute for Qualitative Methoodology (IIQM): University of Alberta (2006).
Wall, Sarah. “Autoethnography: Possibility and Controversy.” YouTube, ATLAS.ti – Qualitative Data Analysis, 25 July 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEWF0SV9F_s.