Keep a Research Journal

From Gerald R. Lucas
Revision as of 14:32, 6 January 2019 by Grlucas (talk | contribs) (→‎Required Posts: Added links.)
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John William Waterhouse, Echo and Narcissus, 1903

Students should regularly keep a journal throughout the semester. The purpose of the journal is not meant to capture “what was done”; instead it is a formal means of documenting the experience and assists students in reflecting on their work and integrating the experience with other learning — from in and out of the classroom. A final summative entry is required of the journal, which will guide the students through a holistic assessment of the experience transitioning from a student to a professional.

This journal will begin your professional blog: an integral part of an expert’s professional portfolio. By the end of the semester, your journal should contain at least one entry per week of class: that’s a minimum of fifteen entries for the journal to meet this requirement. The journal may be kept digitally, like a blog, or traditionally on paper. If you're undertaking a project that is digital, I would expect your journal to be digital as well.

Reflection Journal Instructions

The Reflective Journal is a formative assessment and performs several distinct functions.

  1. It encourages the student to reflect on the knowledge he/she has acquired and ruminate on the ideas generated through the experiential learning experience.
  2. It helps the student to sharpen essential skills of communication and reasoning.
  3. It helps the student identify areas of interest, opportunities for personal and professional growth, and questions or issues to be resolved.
  4. It serves as a vehicle for conversation between you and your professor concerning the nature of the learning experience.

What goes into your reflective journal?

In general, students should expect to complete one journal entry per week. Each entry in the reflective journal should begin with a brief summary of the activities associated with the week’s work and then reflect on these activities by recording thoughts, ideas, responses, and reactions. Entries should address questions like:

  • What did you learn during this activity? Did you have an “a-ha” moment? What did you contribute? Did you try something new? Did it succeed or fail?
  • What decisions did you face during the week, and how did you make those decisions? Were the results satisfactory?
  • How did this week’s activities relate to those of the previous week, or to your learning process as a whole?
  • What do you hope to learn next?

Style and format are dictated by your own academic discipline. There is no set word count, because not every week will provide equally fruitful activities. Instead, the journal should reflect your own ideas and thoughts as completely as possible. Be as original, as constructive, and as professional as you can.

Required Posts

Along with the weekly reflections outlined above, students must also complete the following required posts. (Note: These posts are not in addition to the fifteen required posts.)

Professional Interview

For this interview, identify a professional working in your field and conduct an interview about the profession and how they got started in the field.


The student is required to complete a self-evaluation of his/her performance and participation in the experiential learning experience. This post should be a narrative in which you reflect on your performance this semester. Use the Experimental Learning Student Self-Evaluation Form to identify areas for reflection and self-evaluation. Also, this form should be filled out and submitted to me by the end of the term.

Final Entry

This entry will address the experiential learning experience as a whole. Focus on addressing the following questions.

  1. What was applied to the experiential learning setting from your coursework?
  2. Are there certain skills whose importance now seems greater as a result of the experiential learning experience?
  3. How will the experiential learning experience shape what the student does next, academically and professionally?

This Reflective Essay is a minimum of 1500 words or more at the direction of the program and will be graded using the Experiential learning Reflection Essay Rubric.