Auto-ethnography: problems, pitfalls and promise

Sobolewska, Emilia, Smith, Colin F and Turner, Phil (2009) Auto-ethnography: problems, pitfalls and promise. In: HCI Educators 2009, 2009 22 -24 April, University of Abertay, Dundee. (Unpublished)

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    The teaching and perhaps more importantly the practice of ethnographic techniques has become increasing important within Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). But ethnography is also synonymous with in situ data collection over extended periods of time making it difficult to teach. This paper reports a study of the use of auto-ethnography by a group of undergraduate interaction design students. Auto-ethnography has the potential to expose these students to ethnographic concepts in a manageable fashion. The auto-ethnography required them to create a ‘video-diary’ of their use of an item of everyday interactive technology and then to write an analysis of their behaviour and their thoughts on how this might be used (while having fun). We identify problems and pitfalls, and offer advice for those who wish to repeat our endeavour.

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnography; human-computer interaction; data collection; auto-ethnography; interactive technology; video-diary;
    University Divisions/Research Centres: Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries > School of Computing
    Dewey Decimal Subjects: 000 Computer science, information & general works > 000 Computer science, knowledge & systems > 004 Data processing & computer science
    300 Social sciences > 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 305 Social groups
    Library of Congress Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
    Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
    Item ID: 3573
    Depositing User: Computing Research
    Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2009 15:44
    Last Modified: 04 Jul 2011 12:05

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