In this methodological review, I explore how recent autoethnographic studies in the field of applied linguistics have used autoethnography as a research methodology. I examine 40 autoethnographies published in peer-reviewed journals between 2010 and 2020. The findings show that a large number of the researchers employed autoethnography as “an umbrella term” without opting for a specific type of autoethnography. Second, a great majority of the autoethnographers diverted from traditional third-person academic prose, although most of them approached their stories with an analytic lens. Third, the absence or scarcity of (auto)biographical information decreased both the evocative and analytic qualities of autoethnographic studies. Lastly, the authors provided little or no justification of their methodological choices as to why they specifically opted for autoethnography rather than other qualitative methodologies. Likewise, most authors provided little or no explanation about their selection of data collection tools and procedures as well as their data analysis methods and strategies. In light of these findings, I suggest future autoethnographers familiarize themselves with the types, epistemological foundations, and methodological affordances of autoethnography so that they may find the most appropriate voice and affordances to tell their stories in their own way.


autoethnography, first-person voice, qualitative research, applied linguistics, collaborative autoethnography, duoethnography, methodological review

Author Bio(s)

Ufuk Keleş is a visiting professor at Bahçeşehir University. As a Fulbright grantee, he completed his PhD studies in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Alabama, USA. Before this, he was an English teacher for fifteen years at a university in Turkey. His research interests include language planning and policies, social justice in ELT, multicultural education, and qualitative research in education. He has presented his research in multiple national and international conferences and published his work in several international peer-reviewed journals. He is married with a son. Please direct correspondence to ufuk.keles@ou.bau.edu.tr.


I would like to thank Bedrettin Yazan, PhD for his mentorship in this study. I am also thankful to Stephanie A. Shelton, PhD; and Julianne Coleman, PhD; and Janie Hubbard, PhD, who have, as committee members, provided me with their insightful comments and feedback for this study as part of my autoethnographic dissertation.

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