Title

Auto Ethnography and Occupational Science

Start Time

15-10-2009 3:45 PM

End Time

15-10-2009 5:15 PM

Abstract

This paper uses two experiences to reflect on notions of occupation and the usefulness of auto ethnography to make sense of occupation. This year occupational science is effectively 20 years old. New communities of sciences need to explore and develop agreement related to the acceptable methodologies that relevant to and consistent with the growing body of knowledge being developed. Occupation is a complex process to inquire into and understand, involving the who, what, where, how, why, and when. There is agreement that the significance of occupation is individually located in the meanings ascribed to it by each individual. Auto ethnography is a deep, reflective scholarly activity, based on personal experience , reported against existing literature, discussed , presented and critiqued in relation to the key concepts of understanding in the field of inquiry. It is argued that it is a legitimate technique to use in this discipline both because meaning is understood as being located within the individual and because an occupational view of the world is still an uncommon view of the world. The technique is emerging in occupational science and related literature. This paper uses two personal experiences to explore how auto ethnographic techniques can provide rich insights to occupational science. These two research experiences, one completed and one currently in progress , were related to a positive change in occupational capacity and occupations, and participation in the same occupation but at different times and with different agendas to explore means and ends, respectively. Such processes as note taking and diarying, journaling, and the hermeneutical processes of writing, reflection , and sense making are increasingly common in a range of fields that use qualitative research methods. Equally there are some legitimate criticisms of the process; that there can be a lack of trustworthiness related to the data and data handling, and the work can be merely narcissistic, if there is little learning that is generalizable. The results from these experiences and the occupational insights provided position auto ethnography as a legitimate methodology for use by occupational scientists.

References

Ellis, C., & Bochner, Arthur (1992). Telling and performing personal stories; the constraints of choice in abortion. In C. Ellis & M.Flaherty (Eds.), Investigating subjectivity (pp. 79 –101). Newbury Park, CA: Sage

Christiansen, C. and Townsend, E (2004). Introduction to Occupation: The Art and Science of Living. Prentice Hall.

Hoppes, S. (2005). When a child dies the world should stop spinning: an autoethnography exploring the impact of family loss on occupation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59(1), 78-87. DOI: 10.5014/ajot.59.1.78

Taylor, J. (2008). An autoethnographic exploration of an occupation: doing a PhD. British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71(5), 176-184. Access Article

Yerxa, E. J., Clark, F., Frank, G., Jackson, J., Parham, D., Pierce, D., et al. (1989). An introduction to occupational science, a foundation for occupational therapy in the 21st century. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 6(4), 1-17. Access Article

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Oct 15th, 3:45 PM Oct 15th, 5:15 PM

Auto Ethnography and Occupational Science

This paper uses two experiences to reflect on notions of occupation and the usefulness of auto ethnography to make sense of occupation. This year occupational science is effectively 20 years old. New communities of sciences need to explore and develop agreement related to the acceptable methodologies that relevant to and consistent with the growing body of knowledge being developed. Occupation is a complex process to inquire into and understand, involving the who, what, where, how, why, and when. There is agreement that the significance of occupation is individually located in the meanings ascribed to it by each individual. Auto ethnography is a deep, reflective scholarly activity, based on personal experience , reported against existing literature, discussed , presented and critiqued in relation to the key concepts of understanding in the field of inquiry. It is argued that it is a legitimate technique to use in this discipline both because meaning is understood as being located within the individual and because an occupational view of the world is still an uncommon view of the world. The technique is emerging in occupational science and related literature. This paper uses two personal experiences to explore how auto ethnographic techniques can provide rich insights to occupational science. These two research experiences, one completed and one currently in progress , were related to a positive change in occupational capacity and occupations, and participation in the same occupation but at different times and with different agendas to explore means and ends, respectively. Such processes as note taking and diarying, journaling, and the hermeneutical processes of writing, reflection , and sense making are increasingly common in a range of fields that use qualitative research methods. Equally there are some legitimate criticisms of the process; that there can be a lack of trustworthiness related to the data and data handling, and the work can be merely narcissistic, if there is little learning that is generalizable. The results from these experiences and the occupational insights provided position auto ethnography as a legitimate methodology for use by occupational scientists.