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2013 Autoethnographic, Arts-Based, and Narrative Inquiry Research
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2013 Autoethnographic, Arts-Based, and Narrative Inquiry Research


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An explanation of the research methods I used for my PhD thesis

An explanation of the research methods I used for my PhD thesis

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  • 1. Autoethnographic Research Joan Vinall-Cox, Ph.D.
  • 2. Contents‣ Epistemological background and validity‣ The question finds me‣ Discovering my methods‣ Internal and external obstacles‣ Necessary to learn‣ Context
  • 3. Beginnings• Primary field - teaching communications in a Community College• Classroom - a cultural setting with own norms of behavior• Action research• Participant observation• Dewey - study experience• Russell - “knowledge by acquaintance”
  • 4. “The Personal is Political”• Postmodern theory - impossible to be objective, significance of the personal experience• Feminist theory -> doubt the possibility of actual objectivity; people always see from where they are• Narrative Inquiry • Tell and ‘unpack’ stories• Ethnography - personal, participatory, cultural research
  • 5. Narrative Inquiry• John Dewey - experience is both personal and social ‣ Dewey, J. (1963). Experience and education. New York: Collier Books.• Narrative - human way of learning - answers why? Plot = meaning• teaching = “expressions of embodied and individual and social stories” ‣ Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000).Narrative inquiry: experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers p.4• Teaching - in new culture of computer and web -> personal and social cultural changes
  • 6. Autoethnographic Research• Reflexivity - exploring both cause and effect in an emerging classroom culture• Connect personal to cultural, political, and social meanings / understandings• Wanted to be present in my research, not ‘detached’ (postmodern approach)• Explore my experiences in learning to learn from my experience of learning to use computers & web • Open up readers’ consciousness of own experiences -> deepen, speed up learning
  • 7. Arts-Based• Humans interpret signs -> construct meanings• “[W]e see what we know how to see; we perceive what we have learned how to perceive.” ‣ Vinall-Cox, J. (2004). Following the thread: a writing teachers memories and arts-based transition to a new technology of meaning-making. Toronto: Online.• Materiality of research object - “show and tell” computer’s visual and creative possibilities• Messy, multiple processes of learning - “voices”
  • 8. www. the-Thread-A-New-Technology
  • 9. Showing and Telling
  • 10. Context• College professor teaching English • Students often reluctant, fearful • Students grouped by programs (Multiple Intelligences)• Forced into a new communications environment - the computer and web• PhD looking at computer use teaching writing - late in career = freedom
  • 11. Challenge• Early 90’s, assigned a course using computers• Hated DOS, technophobic, but only way to stay with the program I liked teaching in• Reluctant but knew techies I could get help from• Knew I could cope when I had to learn something in order to teach it
  • 12. Learning! Socially• Survived the first iteration of Communications Using a Computer• Determined to know more about web• Institution provided workshops and courses• Joined PD committee in order to learn from more knowledgeable members• My coordinator was very supportive
  • 13. Learning! Culture• Laptops introduced into program• Became aware of • growing impact of computer and web on our culture • learning demands for using this new tool• Needed to know more about how to learn to use the tool, and how to teach it
  • 14. Learning! Environment
  • 15. A Whole New Technology
  • 16. The Question Finds Me• The more I learned • The more I recognized a fundamental development in communications and consequently in human culture.• Chirography >>> history, religion, etc.• Printing >>> politics, Enlightenment,• Digital and web >/> unknowable and moving fast
  • 17. Ph.D. Candidate, 2002: Method• “In research, the methodology used is profoundly affected by the question posed and the question is shaped the choice of the method. What fascinates me, what I want to explore, is my personal experience of learning to write, and to teach writing, using the online computer as a writing and teaching tool”.
  • 18. I Discover my Method; My Method Discovers Me.• M.Ed - OISE - Teacher-centered• Curriculum Basics - Dr. Connelly • Narrative Inquiry - Experience and Story in Qualitative Research Discovered I get it! The way my mind works!
  • 19. Observations While Teaching• Many poor writers appeared intuitive in ‘getting’ computer skills• Computers made visual teaching easier• Many initially computer-naive students blossomed when they saw how helpful computer skills could be for their work!• Because I was still new and learning, I knew how to show a step-at-a-time as a teacher
  • 20. Pedagogical Positions• Aware of impact of dyslexia and other learning differences• Found Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences convincing• Followed a Constructivist approach for teaching language• Used scaffolding and the “Zone of Proximal Development” in curriculum development
  • 21. Web Observations• Hear students speak of monthly Skyping to home countries to visit with families• Discover a Listserv - communicate with people with similar interest from around the world!• Wikipedia!!!!• Web sites• WebCT• Wikispaces
  • 22. My First Website
  • 23. Return to U of T• Fascinated by computer and web• Aware I’d gone from technophobia to technophilia• Aware that digital skills would become universally necessary• Found ‘worthy’ research - to impact learning by telling stories with computer knowledge embedded in them
  • 24. Speed of Change
  • 25. Sense of Urgency 2002• Give workshops to fellow PhD candidates • Generating a Table of Contents / Figures• Want to “show and tell” - want teacher- readers to “get” the possibilities ASAP• Want teachers to to learn to use computers & web ASAP
  • 26. Discovering My Methods• Read more about, and examples of, Narrative Inquiry Took a course on Arts-Based work (and asked prof, Pat Diamond, to be my Ph.D. supervisor)• Read about ethnography - Laurel Richardson’s Fields of Play: Constructing an Academic Life
  • 27. Internal Hesitations• Before my studies, I had assumed that qualitative research was the only “valid” approach to research • I knew qualitative research was often seen as “subjective”• I had low interest in a quantitative approach (too few teachers of writing using computers to interview)• I wanted to be scholarly (Ended up with 10 pages in my References)
  • 28. External Problems• School-provided laptops - switched from Windows to Mac partway through thesis • New copy of EndNote needed• Slow acceptance of fellow teachers in learning computer / web skills
  • 29. Rational Choice• I wanted to demonstrate the impact of the computer, to show my path as a scaffold to help others want to learn the computer and web in teaching (especially writing)• My Question: “I seek to investigate the impact of the online computer on composing and teaching, penetrating to the core of the labyrinth of what it means to be a teacher of writing in this computer-mediated age.”
  • 30. Necessary to Learn• Computer not typewriter with spell-checker• Needed to know • about fonts and graphic design • how to generate Tables of Contents/Figures • how to use EndNote (or Zotero) • how to use Diigo or Evernote • how to “insert” and other word processing skills
  • 31. Conclusions‣ The methods shape the research‣ The context of my teaching, learning and studying shaped my choice of methods‣ For my investigation, Arts-Based, Autoethnographic, and Narrative Inquiry approaches made sense and gave me space to explore and learn what I needed to learn‣ Conclusion = my “union of passion and insight mediated by technology” was worthy research