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Using Autoethnography to Study the Personal and Professional Influences on Practice When Constructing Feedback for Undergraduate Students

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By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases in Education
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Abstract

The aim of this research was to explore personal and professional influences on practice when constructing academic feedback for undergraduate students from a lecturer perspective, an under-researched area of practice. Autoethnography was used to foreground my personal experiences from which a more relational understanding of the intersecting nature of personal, professional, and broader influences on practice emerged. Within this case study, I focus on how the use of three of the chosen methods within an autoethnographic approach led me to confront complex methodological issues central to the process of becoming a researcher in the “real” world of practice. First, my personal educational and professional experiences were the focal point for initial exploration from which a more nuanced understanding of the intersecting nature of influences on practice was revealed. However, writing autobiographically highlighted the vulnerability involved when including personal information within a research project, bringing this issue alive instead of just being cautionary words within a textbook. Second, the act of writing and analyzing stories from practice enabled me to adopt a critical stance to the social relations present within practice. Yet, the construction of these stories involved my own recollections and versions of events which immersed me in debates around subjectivity and bias in autoethnography. Finally, tensions that emerged while using critical conversations and dialogue with others helped to deepen my understanding of relational ethical issues within autoethnography.

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