Easier Said than Done: Writing an Autoethnography

  • Sarah Wall


Autoethnography is an intriguing and promising qualitative method that offers a way of giving voice to personal experience for the purpose of extending sociological understanding. The author’s experience of writing an autoethnography about international adoption has shown her, however, that autoethnography can be a very difficult undertaking. In writing her autoethnography, she confronted anxiety-producing questions pertaining to representation, balance, and ethics. As well, she dealt with the acceptability of her autoethnography by informal and formal reviewers. In this article she discusses the challenges she faced in her autoethnographic project to inform future autoethnographers and to inspire them to share their experiences and reflections. For the author questions linger, but she hopes that sharing issues that arise in autoethnographic work will strengthen our understandings of this challenging yet highly promising form of inquiry.