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Why a Journal?

Helps with writer’s block

Use the research journal to warm up using a free writing session to get the creative juices flowing.

Freewriting and Journal

Prompts help with creativity and helps you be less restrained when expressing yourself.

Organize your Thoughts

Helps with asking questions and seeking answers. Provides you with the space to organize your thoughts and prepare responses.

Clarity and Anchoring

Helps you trace the development of your ideas, and give you clarity and anchoring.

Reminder of Your “Why”

When you’re not motivated or discouraged, pick up the research journal and through introspection remember why the study and the degree mattered.

Build Stronger Writing

Helps build stronger and regular writing habits. Helps you find your bold voice from within that informs your study.

Checkout these items


woman holding a notebook

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

smiling woman and writing

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.

Old ink pen

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

starting the day with journal

Write Everything

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.
~ Anonymous

notebooks and eyeglasses

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.

man writing in notebook journaling

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!
~ Anonymous

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