From “Mesearch” to “Wesearch”: The Role of Community in Developing Identity-Centric Research


  • Joseph Winberry University of Tennessee
  • LaVerne Gray Syracuse University



Collaborative autoethnography, Community, Doctoral education, Identity, Social group


The term “mesearch” has sometimes been used pejoratively to refer to topics of study of personal interest and importance to the individual conducting the research. This paper argues that a valuable research project can emerge from the inherently subjective but also recognizes that the views and experiences of one person are not necessarily representative of others of the same social identity, or community. Using a collaborative autoethnography approach, two researchers from different communities examine their own dissertation journeys, resulting in the conceptualization of three themes (e.g., community presence, social ideation, and group checking) useful in considering what role a person’s social group may serve in the development of identity-centric research. Beyond exploring these themes, the researchers apply the identity-centric perspective to the future of Library and Information Science education, asking what role social identity can serve in developing research that is valuable to community members and to academic literature alike.

Author Biography

LaVerne Gray, Syracuse University

School of Information Studies, Assistant Professor


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Juried Papers