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AUTOETHNOGRAPHY AS METHOD (Developing Qualitative Inquiry) Hardcover – March 31, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1598741223 ISBN-10: 1598741225 Edition: 1st Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Developing Qualitative Inquiry (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Left Coast Press; 1st Edition edition (March 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598741225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598741223
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 6.3 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,534,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“This book is written by a competent ethnographer who has studied the role of the self in research, and the relationship of self to culture, and desires to provide that knowledge for those who want to include the self in their ethnographic research. This book will be useful for ethnographers who work from a traditional realist perspective and who want to reflect on personal experience in a systematic way. It is especially helpful for those who desire a methods cookbook to guide them. It thoroughly and insightfully covers all the steps for doing the kind of cultural analysis that includes experiences of the self that Chang advocates.”

—Carolyn Ellis, Biography

"The author's writing is so clear and accessible that her first chapters could easily be used as an introduction to the entire self-narrative phenomenon. Beyond Chang's excellent overview, her specific intention is to provide a guidebook on how to conceive an construct a viable autoethnographic study, with detailed sections successively focusing on initial planning, data, collection, management, analysis, and interpretation, In the process she provides a usable bibliography, practical exercises, a schematic chart for visually organizing a self-study and a model example of an autoethnography. Useful as both an overview of a widely far-flung field and as a workbook for constructing a personal autoethnography. Highly recommended."

—CHOICE Magazine

“Heewong Chang’s Autoethnography as Method is a superb introduction to the genre for qualitative researchers. Chang foregrounds the work by eloquently describing the complex interrelationship between culture and identity, then provides intriguing ways of reflecting on and exploring one’s self through memory work, introspective analysis, and evocative writing. Chang demystifies the processes of creating autoethnography by providing readers clear guidance, rigorous expectations, and poignant examples from her own life story. This book is essential reading for both novices and seasoned researchers in the field.”

—Johnny Saldaña, Arizona State University

"Richly nuanced and shedding new light on the varied and often quite fluid ways in which self and others connected to self interact, connect, and disconnect within the realm of culture, Chang’s text invites researchers to include themselves as a research focus and to consider autoethnography as a tool to explore their own perspectives and to arrive at a deeper understanding of others. Those who are willing to take the first step will find a treasure trove of writing exercises and specific strategies to choose from. The result might be a short reflection on a single topic or a book length study that interprets one’s life experiences from a cultural perspective. Autoethnography not only offers a way to make sense of one’s own life, but it also has the potential to illuminate key themes and common understandings that can lead to a deeper appreciation of the diversity and complexity of human interaction."

-Carol Kennett, International Journal of Multicultural Education

“In keeping with the broad view of autoethnography espoused in the book, Chang provides a brief description of a wide variety of data collection techniques, including strategies for collecting personal memories, conducting self-observation, and gathering ‘external’ data (such as interviews and textual artifacts). The methods chapters cover a lot of ground, blending strategies for autobiographical recall and reflection with more traditional qualitative social science methods. One relatively unique feature of this book is a set of ‘writing assignments’ included in the methods chapters, designed to facilitate the collection of self-data and self reflection—and supplemented by nearly 50 pages of appended examples at the end of the book.”

—Leon Anderson, Qualitative Research

About the Author

Heewon Chang is Associate Professor of Education at Eastern University. Trained as an educational anthropologist, she has conducted ethnographic studies of adolescents in the United States and Korea, one of which was published in Adolescent Life and Ethos: An Ethnography of a US High School. Her other research interests include autoethnography, multicultural education, cultural identity, and gender issues. She founded, and serves as Editor-in-Chief of, two open-access online journals, Electronic Magazine of Multicultural Education and International Journal of Multicultural Education.

More About the Author

I'm a professor of multicultural education and organizational leadership at Eastern University in the United States. Currently I direct the PhD in Organizational Leadership program ( Trained as an educational anthropologist, I have done ethnography studies of adolescents in the US and Korea. Currently I am much involved in individual and collaborative autoethnography, especially in relation to the issues of educational equity and justice, diversity, gender, mentoring, and leadership development. I give workshops and presentations on the research method and praxis of autoethnography or collaborative autoethnography and consult research projects globally. I also serve as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Multicultural Education (, which is open-access, peer-reviewed, and globally accessed.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By T.F. on August 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Heewon Chang has written a good overview of the current state of autoethnography, but has failed to add anything to it.

She starts with a broad outline of what culture is, and how the individual must always sit within culture. Then she examines the growing interest in self-narratives, and some ways these have been used in social sciences. In Chapter Three Chang narrows her focus down to autoethnography, and she uses Ellis & Bochner's (2000) extensive list of labels that have been applied to autoethnography. I found this chapter the most useful, as it discusses a number of researchers working in autoethnography (although Change explicity makes the case that she is not attempting a full literature review).

I think Chang's take on auto-ethnography is summed up by her statement that "mere self-exposure without profound cultural analysis and interpretation leaves this writing at the level of descriptive autobiography or memoir" (p. 51). Chang would reject Sela-Smith's (2002) autoethnographical approach as being too personal, and not analytical enough. Chang argues that autoethnography must always be brought back to the context of a wider cultural interpertation, and the strength of her point of view perhaps places her slightly askew from the positioning of Ellis and Bochner (whom she quotes extensively).

So far so good, but it was the remainder of the book which was the biggest let-down for me. Part two is about collecting ethnographic data, and part three is about turning data into autoethnography (this section includes information about coding and analyzing data from a traditional qualitative research p.o.v., which gives you an idea of the direction she is appraoching autoethnography from).
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This is mg go to book for my dissertation. If anyone is using the ethnographic approach, it is a must order!
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I belong to a group of scholars that are biographers and are interested in self-writing. The book is of interest to our group. It is useful but it has too many vague ways of doing research. That is the reason that I accept it as useful but average.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. M. Bardy on October 31, 2008
Format: Paperback
As a PhD student of hospice nursing and using Autoethnography as a research methodology I welcome literature discussing this 'new ethnographic' approach. This book is one that is a valuable addition to my collection of references one I frequently access as the methodology chapter evolves.
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