Autoethnography_as_a_Genre_of_Qualitativ.pdf - Article Autoethnography as a Genre of Qualitative Research A Journey Inside Out Amani Hamdan PhD

Autoethnography_as_a_Genre_of_Qualitativ.pdf - Article...

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585 Article Autoethnography as a Genre of Qualitative Research: A Journey Inside Out Amani Hamdan, PhD University of Western Ontario Alumni Ottawa, Ontario, Canada © 2012 Hamdan. Abstract In this article, I argue that an autobiographical narrative approach is highly suited to educational research. I discuss how a researcher’s personal narrative, or autoethnography, can act as a source of privileged knowledge. I further argue that personal experience methods can be used on a variety of topics relevant to teaching and the field of education in order to expand knowledge. Autobiographical narrative is a research genre and a methodology. It offers opportunities to highlight identity construction as it covers various aspects of the narrator’s life. In an attempt to contribute to literature based on Muslim women’s educational experiences, I have disclosed a series of personal experiences. I have thereby demonstrated the value of autoethnography. When writing an autoethnography, the researcher can develop a deeper understanding of his or her own life. Moreover, reading an autoethnography, one is able to view how others live their lives, which can also contribute to a deeper understanding of life in general. Therefore, autoethnography whether read or written has a strong, educational merit. Keywords: autoethnography in educational research, Muslim women, Muslim women in Canada, personal narratives Acknowledgements: I thank the anonymous reviewers of this manuscript for helping me bring it to the current value.
International Journal of Qualitative Methods 2012, 11(5) 586 Background My interest in autoethnography is long-standing and has been reflected in my pursuit of knowledge and education. The research questions I have raised in my post-graduate education have focused on answering personal questions and highlighting personal endeavors. In 2000, I began my Master’s thesis. I explored the ways in which Arab Muslim women are/were portrayed in Western society (e.g., in the media, popular culture, and academic writing). In my doctoral research, I explored the educational experiences of Arab Muslim women immigrants in Canada. Both research endeavors speak to my personal experience and self-realization; both provide glimpses into my own autoethnography. This disclosure of my personal journey has helped me to rediscover myself and experience personal growth. Furthermore, sharing these experiences broadens the reader’s knowledge of Arab Muslim women’s lives and perceptions. The texts could represent a woman whom the reader had once met, worked with, and/or gone to school with woman whose lives the reader may not have known a great deal about. I suggest that an analysis of how my narratives were constructed will show the contributions that autoethnography can make within educational research, particularly within research based on immigrants’ experiences. Before I continue, I will highlight the importance of exploring one’s own history. Freeman (2004) contends that autoethnography “sometimes serves to bind t ogether more closely the world we live in and the world we study . . . We are surrounded by stories all the

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