This auto-ethnographic study describes a practical application of qualitative research skills in an intensive writing retreat. The retreat was held in response to an inadequate dissertation defense just three weeks before final university deadline for graduation. It uses narrative and double- storytelling to step in and out of the experience of a debriefing process that put the writer in a vulnerable position with a critical friend. The reality of not completing the PhD demanded aggressive and immediate action – an intense commitment to critical analysis of the dissertation. The reflective self-study of the writing retreat experience describes the significance of a critical friend, a safe place, commitment to task, trust, respect, and risk-taking that resulted in an approved dissertation and completed degree program. The unconventional action encourages exploration of alternative approaches for both doctoral committees and students struggling with the final phase of dissertation writing. Insights on collaboration and reflection are shown in the analogy with the playful spider sniffing activity.
Interviewing Researcher, Debriefing, Critical Friend, Dissertation Completion
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.
Recommended APA Citation
Williams, J. K., & Todd, R. H. (2016). Debriefing the Interpretive Researcher: Spider Sniffing with Critical Friend. The Qualitative Report, 21(12), 2161-2175. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2016.2495