Sunday, November 3, 2013

An invited talk on autoethnography

On Friday, I gave a presentation on autoethnography as an invited speaker at Purdue University. I got such encouraging comments and thoughtful questions both during and after the presentation that I feel all energized and excited about my project. Even though I was quite sick, this presentation was one of my personal favorites. I want to thank all who joined me on a Friday evening and my hero, Engin, for his technical and psychological support. When I have the time I hope to share the presentation script too but for now just the slides and some photographs...

Here is my presentation.

Title: A field guide to doing autoethnography: Benefits and challenges

Abstract: Although close relatives of autoethnography such as diary studies and personal accounts of second language learners and scholars are not foreign to second language studies (SLS), it is still a relatively new mode of inquiry in the field. Because it is not a widely known approach to doing research in our field, in this presentation, I explain what autoethnography is, drawing on both what you can find about this approach in scholarly sources and my own experience doing autoethnography. In other words, in this presentation, I provide a comparison of autoethnography as usually presented in the “field guides” to doing autoethnography and a specific example of this exotic species of research, that is, my own research project. More specifically, in this talk, I will address the following questions: What is autoethnography? What are the benefits and challenges of doing autoethnography? How can autoethnographic research be evaluated? How can autoethnography contribute to second language studies? In my experience, even though the answers to these questions in the literature appear to be clear-cut and unproblematic at first glance they sometimes prove to be too simplistic when tested in real life research situations. Hence, I will provide a more realistic picture of doing autoethnography. I argue that autoethnography can significantly contribute to SLS by expanding the kinds of questions it can pose and answer. The objective of this talk is to extend to you an invitation to try autoethnography as part of your research agenda and to provide you with a starting point and a road map if you decide to utilize autoethnography in the future.

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