University Of Tasmania

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'To actually be sociological': Autoethnography as an assessment and learning tool

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 12:57 authored by Peta CookPeta Cook
As a qualitative and experiential research method, autoethnography enables students to explore the relationship between their personal, lived experiences with wider social structures and forces, thus actively developing and engaging their sociological imagination. However, while various studies advocate the use of autoethnography as a learning and assessment tool, no study explores the acquisition of knowledge and learning from the student’s perspective. This is the first study that explores student reactions to and experiences of autoethnography as an assessment and learning tool in sociology. Through the feedback of 15 undergraduate students on qualitative open-ended surveys, this article shows that autoethnography actively engaged the students and enhanced their sociological learning by stimulating their critical thinking on the relationship between their lived experiences and the social. While there are some ethical issues that need to be considered when assigning an autoethnography as an assessment item, the potential benefits for students, as identified by them, far outweigh the possible negatives.


Publication title

Journal of Sociology








School of Social Sciences



Place of publication

London, UK

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 SAGE

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Learner and learning not elsewhere classified