I literally just got done reading “Easier Said than Done: Writing an Autoethnography” by Sarah Walls. It was an interesting read for sure, but it brought me back to my worries about what I am pursuing for this thesis.
I couldn’t help but think back to a conversation that I had with my boss one day. I essentially came to realize that although I knew what ethnography was, it also seemed to be the one thing that I felt I was still lacking in (knowledge of ethnography I mean). To know what something is is not enough. I had to do more research on it. I scheduled a conference with my boss, and she gave me so much invaluable research to start with, as well as questions to start asking myself.
In reading this article today, I realized some of the bigger ideas and concepts that could potentially poke holes in what I am trying to do. I was always aware of the fact that I would have to be careful with the way that I went about this autoethnography. I want to make sure I am presenting myself in the way that I intend to, and in the most appropriate and authentic way. Further, though, I have to consider the scope of this thesis and my intentions for it. Am I solely doing this to be published after? I mean, I feel like I can answer that question now… absolutely not. I am doing this for myself, but also for the greater good of the academic and creative communities. I want to give back to other scholars and students.
Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in. –– Bill Bradley
There were a lot of relevant points and counterarguments brought up in Walls’ article that still need to be addressed for anyone doing this kind of self reflective work. There still seems to be a bit of hesitation with ethnography and if it counts as legitimate research. There are also questions of the ways in which one can go about evaluating this kind of personal writing.
If I could give my personal opinion right now in this post, I would say that storytelling as a form of research is absolutely legitimate, but nine times out of ten, my personal opinion might not matter. So, then will my personal accounts in this thesis event matter? I would like to assume so. However, if my thesis is deemed as invalid on a broader scale, then I am okay with that. Anything that I do on a daily basis provides for me a greater understanding of myself, but doing this kind of work now is also allowing me to help others. Some of the most important learning moments in my life happened form others telling their stories, and if my story can be a blessing to some other student who is struggling with their identity or forming and solidifying their own voice then I want to be part of the solution for them. I want to inspire. That is the most important thing to me, and that is what makes me happy.
Wall, Sarah. “Easier Said than Done: Writing an Autoethnography.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods, vol. 7, no. 1, 2008, pp. 38–53., doi:10.1177/160940690800700103.