Ethical confessions of the “I” of autoethnography: the student's dilemma

Clair Doloriert (Bangor Business School, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)
Sally Sambrook (Bangor Business School, Bangor University, Bangor, UK)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Publication date: 8 May 2009

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to draw attention to a unique paradox concerning doing an autoethnography as a PhD. On the one hand, a student may feel a pull towards revealing a vulnerable, intimate, autoethnographic self, yet on the other hand she may be pushed away from this because the oral/viva voce examination process may deny the student anonymity. Through the telling of this tale the complexities concerning self‐disclosure and student autoethnography reveal are explored.

Design/methodology/approach

The tale is autoethnographic: a fictionalised account based on real events and co‐constructed from substantial field notes, personal diaries, e‐mails, and reports.

Findings

This paper contributes to relational ethics concerned with self‐disclosure and the “I” of a reveal, and highlight the possibilities for developing Medford's notion of mindful slippage as a strategy for removing highly personal and possibly harmful elements within student autoethnography.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides a preliminary theoretical framework that has not been empirically tested and is situated within “introspective” autoethnographic research.

Originality/value

The paper takes an innovative approach to autoethnography, addressing ethical value systems specifically within a PhD context.

Keywords

Citation

Doloriert, C. and Sambrook, S. (2009), "Ethical confessions of the “I” of autoethnography: the student's dilemma", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 4 No. 1, pp. 27-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/17465640910951435

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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