Cassie Carstensen – Poster Teaser

Reflecting on yourself in health research: Utilising auto ethnography to describe life with severe allergies

Auto ethnography as a methodological approach has been under-utilised in health research. However, because of the way the researcher engages in the overall process, it provides a much deeper understanding of the research area. Written auto ethnographic accounts can be highly engaging to read. This presentation discusses the ways a qualitative auto ethnographic research methodology can be utilised to engage with health practitioners whilst informing them about the research. It draws upon a study that explored the experience of raising a child in New Zealand with severe allergies. This research focused on the impact on the family written from the perspective of the child’s mother, who is also a nurse and nurse educator.

The aim behind using this methodology is that the researcher will convey knowledge from a personal perspective, increasing understanding and becoming a catalyst for further conversations about the subject matter.

Utilising this methodology, the researcher was able to describe in detail the day-to-day life of a whanau living with severe allergies and to make recommendations in terms of how health services can enhance the daily life of those living with allergies. This presentation recommends ways that health educators can use auto ethnography as a relevant approach to health research.

The methodology of auto ethnography allows researchers to look back as they move forward, and this study recommends it as a valid and useful research approach for the health sector.

Key words: auto ethnography, personal narrative, allergies