What I Learned from my Initial Autoethnography Research Interview

For my small-scale autoethnography research project, I planned to interview 2 people about their intentions, experiences, and learning. Yesterday, I had my first telephone interview yesterday, and found it a fascinating experience. This post discusses what I learned, and not the interview itself; I am rather strict with adhering to my Ethical Approval (IRB) stipulations.

The first and most practical thing I learned is that the interview took far longer than the 30 minutes I estimated in my consent. It took longer not because I asked more questions based on the open-ended ones I already developed, but because the questions and conversation produced a far richer discussion (aka data) than I had hoped.

While I also learned that we did not systematically work through the 6 research questions I listed,

  1. Why did you choose to use autoethnographic inquiry? 
  2. Who is your intended audience? 
  3. What goals did you have for your readers or learners?
  4. What role did technology play in your research? 
  5. What did you learn in the process of this autoethnographic inquiry? 
  6. If you were to conduct further autoethnographic inquiry, what would you do differently?

the conversation progressed organically and all the questions were answered in some form or another. I have experienced this before, but have never seen it so unified in this manner. I am not sure if this was the results of a common interest in the area, the autoethnographic qualitative strategy itself, if my questions were spot-on, or if there were other factors that enabled this to occur.

I realized I did not allow for closure in my questions (or the note-taking template I used), so I ended by asking if there were anything else that the interviewee wanted to add or comment about at the end. This quite nicely and unexpectedly turned into a summary of the main points.

Overall, a very rich experience.