In this article, I revisit my experiences during my doctoral fieldwork from the lens of a novice qualitative researcher. Initially embracing the role of narrative inquirer, I was in the midst of navigating my inquisitive journey by re-examining my personal practical knowledge as a means to confront my puzzle of practice. Six months of fieldwork allowed me to re-experience my classroom teaching practice through a pair of new eyes. As my research was ending, events took an unexpected turn, leading to the delicate issue of female teacher/lecturer-student relationships during research fieldwork and the dilemma of deciding whether to include or ignore this so-called "uncomfortable episode" in my thesis. This article employs an autoethnographic approach to further explore the sequence of events I experienced during and after an interview session with a male research participant, as they happened. By sharing this story from an autoethnographic lens, I hope to shed some light on the implications of such an episode. The lesson learnt suggests that rigour, honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and reflexivity are among the principles that an ethical researcher upholds and are frequently embedded in one's own personal belief system. As such, a novice qualitative researcher should constantly embrace these values when faced with an unforeseen occurrence during research.


autoethnography, narrative inquiry, reflexivity, critical reflection, ethical dilemma, teacher/researcher identity, teacher education, higher education

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Narina A. Samah is an associate professor at the School of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Johor Bahru. She obtained her Bachelor of Human Sciences in Psychology (Hons) from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in 1997, and her Master of Human Sciences in Psychology from the same university in 2001. Dr. Narina received her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the University of Bristol, United Kingdom in 2011 and was later awarded a Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education Management from the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2015. She currently teaches cognitive psychology and research methods in education, with a focus on qualitative psychology and narrative inquiry. Her research interests encompass the cognitive aspects of learning and teaching, with a great emphasis on critical reflection, reflexivity, metacognition, complex problem solving, and brain functional connectivity during learning process, in addition to Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) research exclusively. Please direct correspondence to narina@utm.my


This research was supported by two matching research grants from the Research Management Centre, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM). The author would like to express her gratitude to the Research Management Centre, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), for supporting this research under the matching grant scheme with the vote number Q.J130000.3053.03M89. The author would also like to express her gratitude to the Research Management Centre, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), for supporting this research under the matching grant scheme with the vote number R.J130000.7353.4B767; Project Code 100-TNCPI/GOV 16/6/2 (019/2022), Project Ref. Letter 100-FP(PT.37/8)(10/03/2023).

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.









To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.