Cross-institutional collaborative autoethnography as an inclusive and flexible way of researching EAP pedagogies and practice

Jennifer Sizer, Anna Rolinska, Clare Carr, Clare Maxwell

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This talk aims to report and reflect on our use of collaborative autoethnography (CAE) in a systematic study exploring EAP pedagogies in the Creative Disciplines as four EAP practitioners working across four different UK HE institutions. Autoethnography, as an established method of making sense of personal experiences (Ellis et al., 2011), offered us the opportunity to place our own practice at the centre of our research. The diversity of our experience and working contexts provided sufficiently rich data for our study, hence our choice to engage in collaborative autoethnography (CAE). CAE gave us an opportunity to engage in ‘collaborative and dialogic reflection’ (Ding & Bruce, 2017, p.147), and also provided the benefit of being able to ‘analyse and interpret [our] data collectively in order to gain a meaningful understanding of [the] sociocultural phenomena’ (Chang et al., 2012, p.24). The talk will set the context of the study and detail the five-stage process of systematic data generation which involved cycles of reflection, review and analysis, including practicalities such as use of technology and means of communication. It will also explore the perceived and potential benefits of such scholarly collaboration, and consider potential limitations. From our perspective, CAE enabled us to create a safe ‘circle of trust’ where we could articulate and refine tacit understandings of our emergent practice within an otherwise under-researched context, resulting in deeper reflection and a greater understanding of, and engagement with, our working contexts. Additionally, the collaboration has meant increased motivation and access to colleagues in similar ESAP contexts, which is particularly relevant for sole practitioners working in the disciplines. Our experience demonstrates that a cross-institutional, collaborative autoethnographic approach can be an inclusive method appropriate for use in scholarship contexts exploring pedagogical practices. It incorporates the valuable practice of reflection (key to both the BALEAP and HEA fellowship schemes) but allows practitioners to explore their practice through collaborative reflection that moves from the ’ontic to the ontological’ (Ding and Bruce, 2017) giving the outcomes a wider relevance beyond the individual. The audience will be encouraged to reflect on the potential use of the approach in their own context(s).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 Apr 2021
EventBALEAP Conference 2021: Exploring Pedagogical Approaches in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) - University of Glasgow [ONLINE], Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 6 Apr 202110 Apr 2021


ConferenceBALEAP Conference 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • EAP
  • pedagogy
  • collaborative research
  • autoethnography
  • collaborative autoethnography
  • Creative Arts
  • creative industries
  • academic writing
  • research methods


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