Research Article 3

This paper is presented to act as both a mode of reflection and inquiry as an autoethnographic account. The aim was to not only present my findings from the literature but mainly to embed the complexities of my personal learning journey as I work towards establishing my ‘research identity’ as a doctoral research student in the field of education. I am of the view that we should constantly seek out ways of looking at our world differently i.e. rethinking how we perceive research, from how it is analyzed and presented to how it is used and disseminated. The very idea of adopting younger research methods encourages researchers to free their minds from existing structures through exploration. The use of personal stories, for example, acting as ‘centerpieces’ for scholarly work in the form of autoethnographic research is just one of the many ways we can achieve this. However, I have come to learn that there are many potential challenges that such approaches may face in the current HEI (Higher Education Institutions) structure. The paradox here is the issue of validity, which is even more sought after in these recent forms of research. This ultimately works to restrict us. I question what exactly is meant by the term ‘validity’; how a paper ‘becomes valid’; and who has the authority to make that call? We can see an attempted move away from the tick box approaches to validation to more fluid argumentative and persuasive techniques in recent years within research of a qualitative nature. This is not to say that the more traditional approaches to validity are flawed; rather the influence and importance of the audience in the process of validation is now at the forefront of the discussion. This in turn requires knowledge of our audience and their expectations in order to develop the power of ‘persuasion’ as researchers. Validity may appear to be an elusive concept and many a time, I feel, it is over emphasized. However, it is still a concept that is necessary within our research whichever way we decide to adopt and apply it.

Keywords: Educational Research, Validity, Audience, Narrative, Autoethnography