Being a therapist- Becoming a researcher
A collaborative autoethnography study
Keywords:Collaborative autoethnography, becoming a researcher, novice, hierarchy
The aim of this study was to explore how four professionals, both therapists and academics, experienced the transition to becoming a researcher. Collaborative autoethnography gave us the opportunity to gain a collective understanding of our shared experiences (Ngunjiri et al., 2010). The data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis and resulted in four themes: (1) academia as a hierarchical system, (2) realizations about becoming a researcher, (3) a meaningful career choice, and (4) self-development. Research output turns out to be the most important criterion in academia. Employees in high-status positions like associate and full professor are therefore at the top of the hierarchy. At the same time a lot of teaching tasks need to be performed. Teaching is most often done by employees with less formal competence. This creates tensions. A tension that seems to be inevitable, as research is both a requirement and high in status, while teaching is one of the core tasks. Becoming a researcher is a demanding process on both a personal and relational level due to high expectations. All the same, research positions offer a relatively large degree of freedom and the possibility to organize the workday. The process of becoming a researcher was therefore described as meaningful, as it provided considerable opportunities for self-development.