I don’t know if it is because I have been on holiday for Christmas and New Year but this week my reflective mood seems to have sent me to read up on all things from a personal perspective. For example, a book I particularly like is Carolyn Ellis’s methodological novel ‘The Ethnographic I’…This is a fictional account of a year in the life of a university course she teaches where she combines both methodological advice and her own personal stories into a learning vehicle. She presents her students’ narratives as they try to focus and craft their research projects and thus begin to understand what constitutes the auto-ethnographical research method. ‘Through Ellis’s interactions with her students, you are given useful strategies for conducting a study, including the need for introspection, the struggles of the budding ethnographic writer, the practical problems in explaining results of this method to outsiders, and the moral and ethical issues that get raised in this intimate form of research. Anyone who has taken or taught a course on ethnography will recognize these issues and appreciate Ellis’s humanistic, personal, and literary approach toward incorporating them into her work’ (Amazon review).
I also like’Autoethnography as Method’ by Heewon V. Chang. She presents a guide ‘on the process of conducting and producing an autoethnographic study through the understanding of self, other, and culture’. Advice is given on’steps in data collection, analysis, and interpretation with self-reflective prewriting exercises and self-narrative writing exercises to produce their own autoethnographic work. Chang offers a variety of techniques for gathering data on the self, from diaries to culture grams to interviews with others, and shows how to transform this information into a study that looks for the connection with others present in a diverse world.’
Following on from this I clicked on a feed to my Twitter account (@HR_innovation) and read about auto-analytics – a term new to me but quite an interesting concept. The blog post was called ‘MANAGING YOURSELF. To Stand or To Sit at Work: An Auto-Analytics Experiment’
by Suzy Jackson at http://s.hbr.org/VBeOAg .. An interesting article on measurement of self-analytics..she ‘wondered if I could use the burgeoning field of auto-analytics — collecting and analyzing data about myself — to make my life more active without having to join a gym.’
All of this collection and analysis of research material about experiences of living from your own perspective can only illuminate our understanding of our world to good effect (but it isn’t an easy way of doing research, so beware).