Why a Journal?
I Always Come Back to A Physical Notebook
One never knows when and where some "groundbreaking" thought visits one's mind and has to be noted down immediately. Otherwise, it is lost forever. And I have never been able to recall it again.
~ Samina Naseem
Quantitative or Qualitative
My dissertation is quantitative, however, my advisor/chair stated that no matter what research method we use, we all have biases, so it would be good to keep a record of how my thoughts and perceptions change over time during the process of my dissertation.
~ R. N.
First year students & incoming Ph.D. students
First-year students and incoming Ph.D. students start a dissertation journal. Use it to write ideas, questions, notes, or whatever it is you are thinking about for your dissertation. Carry it with you everywhere or make sure you can access the digital file from your phone.
~ Uriel Serrano
I use a composition journal. I write everything in it. My thoughts about why something is working or not, what are the parameters of the experiments I want to run, pseudo-code, research to-do lists, if I'm upset at something, etc... I use it as scratch paper and a place to dump my thoughts.
Battle Imposter Syndrome
A dissertation journal is a great idea instead of the collection of post-it notes I have! Seriously, I love seeing my random pre-grad school ideas. It assures me that I had good instincts even before I had the skills to properly vet my ideas. Good for battling impostor syndrome!
~ N. R.
Encouraged to Keep a Journal
In my master’s program I was encouraged to keep what they called a reflexivity journal. It’s to take any notes related to research topics, ideas, progress. But also, to record how you’re feeling from day to day on where you are and any potential bias (journaling). Faculty highly recommend it!