Journal article: Exploring Duoethnography in ELT Research Ecosystems: Accessibility, Misuse, and Further Horizons

Recently, my friend and colleague Robert Lowe and I published an article in the International Review of Qualitative Research titled Exploring Duoethnography in ELT Research Ecosystems: Accessibility, Misuse, and Further Horizons. Basically, it’s a duoethnography about doing duoethnography, which could be silly and frivolous, but we are quite serious. We both really respect duoethnography as a research method: I have co-authored four duoethnographies including this one, and Rob has written a few, as well as having co-edited a book about it, which also contains some duoethnographies co-authored by him. Basically, we offer a critique of the method, look at how it can be used by researchers who do not typically use qualitative inquiry in their work, and express our ideas about where duoethnography, especially in English language teaching research, could go next.

A photograph of two medium-size pine cones side by side on brown grass. There are two much smaller pine cones by the one on the right, and they are not immediately obvious.

While we both appreciate the affordances of duoethnography the fact remains that it is subject to many of the same flaws as autoethnography. Essentially, in the wrong hands, it is a method of navel gazing introspection for the sake of it. The authorial partnership should be critical, but in too many duoethnographies there is only backslapping and sycophancy. We hope that is not what we have done in any of our own work.

We also puzzle over why so few quantitative researchers have taken up duoethnography. I have a bit of a fancy idea about it being part of a research ecosystem. I think everyone should either have a go with it or at least quantitative researchers should be actively reading and citing qualitative inquiry including duoethnography. We all need all kinds of research. I also question whether duoethnography needs to be purely qualitative or whether there can be quantitative elements included. This last idea is one that I hope comes to fruition, because I think that it could help make duoethnography more appealing to a wider range of researchers.

If you don’t have access to the paper, you can email me and I can send it along.