Me Search vs. Conventional Research

It has been argued that the selfie culture is slowly starting to creep into academic study and research.  But can me search be really used in an essay or your dissertation?

There is a method of international research which is growing in popularity. Known as me search the technique involves a researcher drawing on their own experiences to address academic questions. So, let’s say for example you had been asked to create an assignment based on the subject of technology. Rather than rely on fact and printed research, the researcher will draw on personal experience.

Me search is a very modern and real phenomenon which is reflecting the increasing popularity of reality television, selfies and recording everyday activities on social media. It is also being drawn into the academic world, particularly in journals in subject areas such as education, psychology and sociology.  Being asked to complete a piece of work on me search would require a very different approach, particularly when it comes to the dissertation writing or essay writing.

History of Me search

The technical term for me search is ‘auto ethnography’ and it originates in the 1970s. The majority of traditional researchers who use qualitative techniques such as interviewing participants, the me searcher will only use their own experiences and feelings to explore the subject in greater detail. Articles created using an auto ethnographic approach will be written in a different way to an academic paper. The usual way to write a piece of academic work for this approach is to use a storytelling technique rather than the traditional academic style.

This is a contrast to traditional scientific work which requires an academic to be detached from the topic and theories on experiments which can be verified, tested and reproduced. Some academics argue that this type of research undermines traditional research because it cannot result in the same reliability in terms of scientific enquiry.

The key differences

Although me search is similar to research it lacks depth. Me search is much more superficial while traditional research is serious, detailed and based on facts and figures. With conventional academic research there is no room for emotion or opinion.

The role that me search will play in academic writing in the future is for speculation at this moment in time. Students are still encouraged to use the traditional, tried and tested methods of writing and researching associated with academic study. Assignments are still approached in the same way that they always have been and whether me search finds its way into assessed work at schools, colleges and universities in years to come remains to be seen.

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