Keeping a Research Journal_Enhancing_Postgraduate_Environments

Keeping a Research Journal

This narrated PowerPoint presentation discusses, briefly, the value of reflecting on a research process as it unfolds. This reflection is enabled through the researcher learning to chronicle, or document, the process in a journal. As with a reading journal, a research journal’s role is to provide a space for the researcher to note ideas, arguments, struggles, good and bad days, questions, connections between bodies of literature, theory and data, and so on… all captured to enable the researcher to track progress, patterns of thinking, and development of their ‘voice. Here, voice is conceptualised as the point of the research, or the main argument and claims it seeks to advance. The presentation argues that learning to keep effective research journals throughout a research journey can enhance and enable the process of developing, and expressing, a clear and confident researcher voice. It takes the user through the purpose of the journal, what they could do to make effective journal entries, and explains why keeping one of these journals is beneficial during postgraduate study.

Developed by Sherran Clarence, Independent higher education consultant.

Who might find this useful?

This material is primarily for postgraduate students, although it could be useful in workshops with students run by postgraduate and/or writing support practitioners, to encourage discussion around the value of academic journaling in postgraduate studies.

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Questions for users:

  • For supervisors/PG support staff: In what ways could you incorporate journaling into your supervision or PG support sessions, to encourage students to write in these informal and reflective ways? How might journaling enhance your own writing and/or supervision practice? In what ways could this tool enhance your students’ meta-learning about writing, and research praxis?
  • For students: what value can you see in journaling? Consider how writing informally in a research journal could enhance your ability to critique and analyse aspects of the research you are doing, or writing you are working on. What might you be able to learn about yourself as a writer? What value could this have for you later on, should you become a supervisor or mentor to other postgraduate students?