My Autoethnographic Writing in Yvonna Lincoln’s Session

(This is the result of an assignment Yvonna Lincoln gave us during her pre-conference session on experimental writing. It is not finished, and is intended for us to explore this method. I will develop this into the “What did I learn in this? section for my paper.)

I have 3 days. That is it. No more without discussing it and gaining  agreement with my colleagues and faculty tutor. How am I going to finish my first research project in my doctoral program? 3 months into the program, and already original (if not perfect) research.

Yes, I will finish it. I always finish it. Working full-time, teaching 3 university classes, studying toward a PhD, and preparing for 3 conference presentations within a two week period of time? I can do that. Of course I can do that! I have always finished before . . .

I interviewed 3 people about their intentions and what they learn and what they hope their learners will learn from their autoethnographic work. Yes, and how technology figures into the equation, as I am in an E-research and Technology Enhanced Learning doctoral program.

We had 4 weeks for the project, and on top of everything else, I have not only gotten my research design written, approved by the ethics committee, requested interviewees (I got 3 though I only tried for 2), adjusted my transcripts after my interviewees did not like my notes of our discussion, and then open and axially coded my data – I also analyzed the data and wrote an initial overview of my findings.

I realize the more time would not have helped much; what I need it help with is writing a more concise and comprehensive consent form, resources for transcription, feedback with being more rigorous with the strategies of inquiry and to what extent coding should be done (Strauss, Corbin, Berg, Wolcott) and using whose framework (Stake, Yin) and how mixing frameworks can be useful), and assistance with selecting and then using qualitative analysis software (Nvivo, Atlas ti, MaxQDA).

Is my research perfect? Of course not. Complete? No.  Ready for conference or publication submission? Not quite yet.

But what value was the project? Immeasurable.

I never would have supposed I could have learned so much about research apart from doing it (this is my first time doing it to  this extent individually). I realized not only I can do it, but that I love it. I learned that my initial framework for autoethnography was somewhat limited and is now larger, as I learned that other people think about it in other ways. I learned that it is really important to love the topic of the research, as that will be the only tings to sustain me in times of overwhelming despair. I can even see this research developing into my first step toward a dissertation (called a thesis in the UK).

I learned a lot, learned there is a lot more I do not know, and that research really can influence and support practice.

4 thoughts on “My Autoethnographic Writing in Yvonna Lincoln’s Session

  1. Jeffrey – what a gem to read your liveblog about QI 2009. I am writing a summary of my Scheduled Development time in May and June for my instituation and left my notes at home re. Yvonna Lincoln’s presentation. I decided to Google the title et voila! Here was your lovely annotated summary. Thank you so much. I loved reading about your impressions. I wish I could have attended your sessions. Maybe next time. Thank you and hope all is going well.

  2. @S. Tait

    I am so glad you found my work (and through a level, Yvonna Lincoln’s work) useful! Yvonnna’s session was very informative and experiential for me, and I thought her way of personalizing her work for us made it different from many of hte scholarly sorts of presentations I attend.

    What did you think of QI2009?


  3. I really enjoy the QI Conference – I attended last year, too, and presented, and doing so was a highlight of my academic career to date. I felt like I had found a whole bunch of kindred spirits and felt very welcome there. I love the variety and quality of presentations, the variety of speakers, the willingness to mentor students, the activities, and the PUBLISHERS ROOM. Yikes – I spent way too much money in there this year. I went this year only til mid-day Friday, as that’s all I could manage, but I really wanted to attend Yvonna Lincoln’s Workshop and Laurel Richardson’s workshop, and the presentation of a colleague from Royal Roads University. Managed to do all that and more, so I was happy. Missed out on a number of other wonderful sessions, though. Hopefully I can manage to go again next year.

  4. @S. Tait

    I have NO idea how I missed your reply, Shannon–thank you for it!! The conference was really quite good, and I am hoping to attend next year (as long as I get my paper written and accepted!) as well. While I enjoyed the campus and location, it is really not the easiest place to get to, so I planned to stay the entire time. One thing that was particularly strong about QI2009 was the preconference offerings. While I do tend to attend preconferences (hey, if I have to travel, I will maximize the time spent!), these were by far the strongest ones I have seen anywhere. There were certainly more to attend than I was able, and I am quite glad about that.

    Thinking about next year, while I have so many ideas, I find my time being among the biggest limitations. Research is never the fastest process, and with more ideas than time, I feel I have none to waste!

    Have you started to consider research for next year yet?


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