Suggestions for Responsible Qualitative Research with Transgender Engineering Students Using an Auto-Ethnographic Approach

Madeleine Jennings, Nadia Kellam, Brooke Coley, Audrey Boklage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The need for increasing diversity in engineering has paved the road for a rich wealth of literature exploring the experiences of marginalized students in these spaces. Much of this literature utilizes qualitative methodology to understand the experiences of these students, as told through their own words. However, work of this nature can often be influenced by the implicit biases that the researcher carries, as well as the inherent misalignment of power present between researcher and participant. These misalignments may be exacerbated when the researcher is interviewing a marginalized participant, while not identifying as part of a marginalized identity themselves. Students within the LGBTQ+ community may reside at multiple marginalized identities, and as such, the issues surrounding interviewing marginalized identities can be compounded further. Even the most well-intentioned and experienced researcher may find themselves in an interview with a marginalized individual in which implicit biases and unspoken power structures alter the trajectory of the interview. This paper seeks to provide an auto-ethnographic reflection by the first author on the interview of a transgender research participant, while simultaneously providing an opportunity to identify ways in which her interview could have been methodologically improved. This will be accomplished by the first author's analysis of the interview and meta-data. This analysis is valuable, as the first author identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ engineering community herself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2019 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781728117461
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Event49th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2019 - Covington, United States
Duration: Oct 16 2019Oct 19 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Conference49th IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Auto-Ethnography
  • Inclusivity
  • LGBTQ+
  • Qualitative Methodology
  • Transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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