A Critique of Current Practice: Ten Foundational Guidelines for Autoethnographers
Qualitative health research 2010 Dec; 20(12): 1599-610
Any research is potentially compromised when researchers address ethical issues retrospectively rather than by anticipating these issues. In this regard, creative analytical practices (CAP) autoethnography has endemic problems. In Part 1 of this article, I detail a case study of an autoethnography in which journal reviewers insisted that an author gain retrospective informed consent from the 23 persons documented in an autoethnography. Yet the journal reviewers' insistence failed to go one step further-acknowledging that a conflict of interest develops when gaining consent retrospectively. In Part 2, I contrast three leading autoethnographers' justifications for not gaining informed consent with the Position Statement on Qualitative Research developed by successive Congresses of Qualitative Inquiry. In Part 3, I identify resources available for autoethnographers, including ethical issues present when researchers use autoethnography to heal themselves, violating the internal confidentiality of relational others. In Part 4, I question if autoethnography is research and, like journalism, exempt from formal ethics review. Throughout the article, 10 foundational ethical considerations for autoethnographers are developed, taking autoethnographers beyond procedural ethics and providing tools for their ethics in practice.
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