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The Ins and Outs of Doing Autoethnography: An Insight into the Methodology of My Thesis on Australian Male Age Discrimination

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By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases
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Abstract

This case is drawn from my recently submitted PhD thesis on the effects of perceived age discrimination in employment practices on Australian professional men and highlights my pathway to completion, including the difficulties I experienced in convincing peers, supervisors and other academics to accept the autoethnographic methodology. As the author, I have input evidence and contributed my own history, making the final thesis a qualitative phenomenological reflexive autoethnography. The thesis covers literature of the psychological effects on the unemployed and culminates in an examination of the effects on the lives of those who perceive they have suffered age discrimination. The methodology around which my thesis is constructed prescribes the usage of a small number of interviews to elicit and promote the voice of the discriminated. Autoethnography is a dynamic, persuasive and effective tool to convey the damage and degradation of the study topic and may have a more lasting impact than other methodologies. However, ethnography is not designed to replace other methodologies, but can work alongside, expand and fill in gaps in knowledge which may be missing with other forms. I present this case study as a guide to assist students in successfully undertaking autoethnography and avoiding traps and pitfalls.

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