I am gearing up for one of my biggest challenges to date. This challenge is personally, professionally, and academically the largest I have set out to accomplish and I could not be more excited.
At the doctoral level there is always, at least in my experience, shyness in sharing ones full research desire. We are expected to produce research that is new and unique; filling a gap is our mission. So over the last year I have been fairly generic in responses to questions regarding my research interest. Part of being generic was also not really knowing what I wanted to research. My research interest and topic seems to be a constant unraveling of ideas. But, I think I have a clearer idea today. I think I know what I want to do. It is scary, intense, critical, and for me extremely meaningful.
Carolyn Ellis (a well know autoethnographer) explains in a video clip (Autoethnography in Qualitative Inquiry) how research needs to be meaningful to the researcher. Ellis and Buchner talk in-depth about autoethnography as a research methodology and for every point that sparked a little concern in me there were a handful of comments that excited me. If you have not guessed yet, I am gearing up to write my dissertation using an autoethnographic approach. This means my inner secret thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, practices, complexities – basically my being – is put under a critical lens and I will write about it for the world to read. The topic itself moulds with every new narrative shared but hopefully I will say something meaningful to more than just me.
I have not been thinking about autoethnography for long but when I did begin to think about it I thought about a lot more. I thought about how the privileged are often times the only ones with access to research. Academically associated individuals often have free access to various journals and publications but many individuals, practitioners for example, who are no longer associated with an academic institution have a barrier in accessing new research. Access becomes even more restricted when you are not working within a so-called professional environment. Yet, I believe an autoethnography (a critical examination of the self and the relationships with others) has a greater impact in society then just the academically privileged (if I can call us that).
Thus, I have been thinking about creating a space here, on this blog, to post my works. I do not have many. In fact the only notable writing I currently have is my Masters Thesis. A few years after its completion I am still pretty proud of it. I look at it (I had it turned into a hard cover book for my bookshelf) every so often and think about how I need/should write a journal article from it. I will get to it one day, maybe one day soon with my newly renewed excitement for my academic journey. Until I create a specific space for my works to be housed I will attach a PDF copy here, in this specific blog. It is longish. Every time I call it long to my supervisor he reminds me of the paper (dissertation so they call it) that is looming ahead of me). If you decide to read it, I hope you enjoy it, learn something from it, and maybe it will even ignite an academic journey for you!
My MA thesis is from the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria and explores what contributed to and prevented counsellors for including or not including spirituality in their practices. Throughout the piece I attempted to weave my own story into the research, in this sense there has always been an “auto” part to my research. Enjoy! The Use of Spirituality in Counselling Practices with Adolescents