Trying Not to Lie ... and Failing: Autoethnography, Memory, Malleability

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Abstract

All research is experiential, whether this is the experience of reading in the library or observing in the field. Autoethnographers take experience into narratives and are themselves key participants in their research, and often also its subject. For autoethnographers the idea of research as a neutral process is abandoned in favour of a self-reflective form that explores the researcher's perspective on the subject in question. Autoethnography inevitably negotiates the relationship between the stories we want to tell and the histories we have lived through; between the necessary fictions of publication/presentation and the real world experiences we draw upon. This article questions whether we can ever tell our experiences truthfully. This article questions what it might mean to write oneself into research findings and narrative reports, and it asks what happens when one's self goes further and becomes the research. It offers perspectives and provocations which are informed but not bound by autoethnography's extant body of thought and readers are invited on a brief journey through self-writing as it relates to the vagaries of memory and the illusion of truth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 918-929
JournalThe Qualitative Report
Volume20
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes

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