Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Carolyn Ellis, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur Bochner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eric Eisenberg, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Donileen Loseke, Ph.D.


Autoethnography, Therapeutic writing, Health communication, Narrative therapy, Reflexivity, narrative


This research examines the increase of personal narratives in the past several decades, particularly the autoethnographic approach. The project begins with a historical contextualization of personal writing and autoethnography in relation to the crisis of representation and other diverse socio-political shifts. One outcome of these cultural transitions was a proliferation of illness narratives, narrative therapy, therapeutic writing, and narrative health communication. Also included in this research are data from interviews with emerging autoethnographers and participant observation that occurred at the Third International Qualitative Inquiry Congress. The conference served as prism through which to view qualitative scholarship as a whole, as well as current issues in autoethnography and its possible futures. Issues that are explored include what motivates scholars to write autoethnographically, how they define and evaluate autoethnography, their views on its use as therapeutic practice, and their vision for the future of the autoethnographic approach. Qualitative research methods are flourishing globally, and autoethnography is uniquely positioned to expand in the years ahead, particularly in the area of health communication, cross-disciplinary academic studies, and mainstream publishing venues.