Autoethnography in Action: A Research Methods Case Study on the Use of a Collaborative Autoethnography to Explore the Culture of Studying Medicine With Dyslexia

Abstract

Within this Research Methods Case Study, we discuss the case of a collaborative autoethnography. We highlight the design process, the methods used, and the challenges encountered. The case takes the example of “Seb”—a UK medical student with dyslexia. We use his story as a real example of autoethnography, to humanize it as a research process. We also highlight its use as a supplementary piece of research to a wider, phenomenological study into the experiences of medical students with dyslexia. Through the use of an autobiographical account and an unstructured, in-depth interview, we were able to gather a wide set of data on Seb’s lived experiences as a medical student with dyslexia. Subsequently, the transcript and written account were both thematically analyzed and used to generate the narrative of the published article. Using a collaborate approach, the developing manuscript was refined over multiple drafts, with input from Alec—a leading authority on autoethnography. This was repeated until all three authors were happy that it was ready to submit for publication. The process of undertaking the autoethnographic study was emotionally taxing for Seb, and left him feeling incredibly vulnerable at times. It highlighted the importance of the relationship between a supervisor and supervisee when undertaking such a personal, emotive research project. These points are discussed and further contextualized within the main text of this case study.

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