Self Studies

As part of your RhD studies, you should maintain a diary of your experiences as a student and how your understanding of research, your research topics, and other factors change over the course of your degree. This can be published as research in the form of a Self Study.

Self Study Research combines action research, narrative inquiry, and autoethnography.

Self-study of practice is a methodology that helps practitioners unpack and more deeply understand the complexities and problematic nature of professional practice, particularly in research, teaching and teacher education. Like autoethnography there is a focus on self, and like action research there is a focus on practice. However, self-study requires that practitioner researchers examine practice in a way that privileges the self, and considers how one’s identities shape the practices we engage in.

You will be the subject of your own research, and the focus is on describing how you go about learning to become a researcher. You will face many challenging concepts to learn during your studies, and the process you take to learning about these concepts, identifying and articulating the difficulties you have, and describing your successes and failures, is what you can research in a self study. Self Study has developed from previous methodologies of practitioner inquiry, teacher inquiry, reflective practice, and action research,  but differs with its emphasis on you as the researcher studying your role within, and not outside, the practice. Equally important as conducting a personal situated inquiry, self-study research also requires that your study is informed by the literature and is open for critical and collaborative reflection and validation. As such, your Self Study can be published in a research journal as part of your publications during your RhD journey.

A few tips to improve your Self Study writing:

The fundamental aspect of self study is that you are exploring your own personal learning journey, but within the academic framework of existing research on personal academic journeys, i.e. you need to refer to and reference the journeys of others and compare and contrast these with your own.

Your self study is on your learning of two interrelated topics: Your personal experiences with your research topic and how you have learnt to study this topic; and your personal experiences with learning, including your ontology, epistemology, and and methodology, in relation to your research.


A realist ontological perspective is described in "Ontology of Learning Environments" as the author explores the changing nature of teaching and learning spaces

Brown, G. (2008). The ontology of learning environments.

Samaras, A. P. (2011). Overview of the self-study research process: what and how. In Self-study teacher research: Improving your practice through collaborative inquiry (pp. 23-48). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. doi: 10.4135/9781452230481.n2

Garbett, D., & Ovens, A. (Eds.). (2016). Enacting self-study as methodology for professional inquiry. Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP). 

Papadopoulou, C. (2021). The Aha! moments in self-studies. Academia Letters.


Castle Conference on S-STEP August, papers due by previous October

Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP)

Berry, A. (2015). Self-Study of Teacher Education Practices (S-STEP). In: Gunstone, R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Science Education. Springer, Dordrecht.

Guidelines for Quality in A of Self-Study Research

Textiles and Tapestries: Self-Study for Envisioning New Ways of Knowing (text)

2nd International Handbook of Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education edited by Julian Kitchen, Amanda Berry, Shawn Michael Bullock, Alicia R. Crowe, Monica Taylor, Hafdís Guðjónsdóttir, and Lynn Thomas  

Methods and Tools of Self-Study 

LaBoskey, V.K. (2004). The Methodology of Self-Study and Its Theoretical Underpinnings. In: Loughran, J.J., Hamilton, M.L., LaBoskey, V.K., Russell, T. (eds) International Handbook of Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices. Springer International Handbooks of Education, vol 12. Springer, Dordrecht.

The Methodology of Self-Study and Its Theoretical Underpinnings

Understanding Self-Study Research


Self Study Research Guide


Framing S-STEP as inclusive of educational research and learning about doing research

Describe yourself as the researcher.

Define Ontology

Define Epistemology

Define Theoretical Perspective

Describe the Research Study

Describe learning in setting up the study


Digital Tool permissions

Describe the planned framework of the study

Describe the research methods to be used and learnings about them

Describe the research tools to be used and learnings about them

Detail learning during the study

Detail learning from conducting the study

Describe changes to the personal research process

Changes to ontology, epistemology and theoretical perspectives

International Handbook of Self-Study of Teaching and Teacher Education Practices

Methods and Tools of Self-Study


Self-study Defines the Focus of Study, Not the Way the Study is Carried Out

Seeking Alternative Perspectives

Self-confidence and Vulnerability

The Outcomes of Self-study Demand Immediate Action

There are differences between Self-study and Reflection on Practice

Self-study builds on reflection as the study begins to reshape not just the nature of the reflective processes but also the situation in which these processes are occurring ... reflection is a personal process ... self-study take these processes and makes them public, thus leading to another set of processes that need to reside outside the individual. (Loughran & Northfield,1998, p. 15)

Dilemmas, Tensions and Disappointments Tend to Dominate Data Gathering in Self-study

The Importance of the Audience in Shaping the Nature of Self-study Reports

The Methodology of Self-Study and its Theoretical Underpinnings

Self-study in Teaching and Teacher Education: Characteristics and contributions

"Qualitative hypothesis-generating research involves collecting interview data from research participants concerning a phenomenon of interest, and then using what they say in order to develop hypotheses. It uses the two principles of (1) questioning rather than measuring and (2) generating hypotheses using theoretical coding…Because the method involves developing hypotheses after the data are collected, it is called hypothesis-generating research rather than hypothesis-testing research" (Auerbach and Silverstein, 2003, pp. 7-8). 

Auerbach, C. F. and Silverstein, L. B., (2003), Qualitative Data: An Introduction to Coding and Analysis, New York University Press, New York, (see: Chapter 1 & 2, Introducing/Designing Qualitative Hypothesis-Generating Research pp. 4-30.