Autoethnography explained

To start off with “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience.” (Ellis, C. 2011)

Autoethnography is both a process and a product. As a process it is a mixture of autobiography (about past experiences) and ethnography (studies of culture’s relational practices) combined. What separates it from being an autobiography is that in an autobiography other people can be involved and other journal articles and multiple sources are used to create it. An autoethnography focus’ on an individual/personal experience of a new culture or element of a culture. As a product it can come in many different forms or presentations. Like an autobiography it must be engaging to the reader and be presented in a way that makes sense.

There are so many ways Autoethnography “The forms of autoethnography differ in how much emphasis is placed on the study of others, the researcher’s self and interaction with others, traditional analysis, and the interview context, as well as on power relationships.” (Ellis, C. 2011) Ellis perfectly explains how I understand the forms of autoethnography and how open it can be. It can come in so many different shapes and forms depending on the researcher, as well as the topic being researched.

Here is a great video of an overview of autoethnography from a researcher perspective.

To me autoethnography is all about reflecting on a new experience and drawing on your own thoughts and opinions rather than reaching out for other peoples, which makes it stand out from other research techniques.


Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. 2010, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, Vol 12, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1101108.


3 thoughts on “Autoethnography explained

  1. Enjoyed reading about your view on what Autoethnography is, it was explained quickly but had enough information to get through the point you were trying to make. When you wrote “reflecting on a new experience and drawing on your own thoughts and opinions rather than reaching out for other peoples”, this is a good way to see Autoethnography and I completely agree.

    But it makes me think that when making an Autoethnographic report it may also take into account your upbringing and how those around you might’ve shifted your opinions. I think truly relying on your own thoughts when experiencing a new culture is difficult in a way but also makes for some very interesting research. Sort of a conflict in thoughts because of how you were raised if that makes sense. Definitely going to think more about this during the course of the subject. 🙂



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