J is for… Journalling and Reflexivity #AtoZChallenge

J is for… Journalling and Reflexivity

One of the first pieces of advice I received when starting my PhD was to start keeping a reflective diary or journal (sorry sidebar giggle thinking back to the diary(ladies)/journal(mens) scenes in A Very Potter Senior Year that I watched yesterday). I did do this for a while (by hand) but then stopped for whatever reason, I also haven’t been back to read through in a while).

This challenge is meant to be restarting this for me and hopefully I’ll keep going. I do have a private blog set up which I will probably use more of the time because I’m sure that often I will be journalling incoherent ramblings and also I wonder about how much I should be sharing openly. A benefit of keeping it electronically will be that it is searchable too. I hope to most occasional, more coherent thoughts here too.

In ‘academic’ terms journalling is about reflexivity. Tracking thought processes, noting biases and how this relates to decisions made. How I influence my research. In qualitative research these reflections often become integrated into the thesis, sometimes as a separate chapter, other times throughout.

‘Thus reflexivity involves not getting rid of the self, but doubling the self: distancing ourselves from ourselves to a greater or lesser extent, so that we have a sense of standing outside ourselves and observing what we are doing and thinking.’ (Hunt and Sampson 2006 p4).

Some of this reflexivity might leave us feeling vulnerable and that might be a reason to hide this processes, however Hunt and Sampson (2006) suggest that we learn to be more objective when we share and invite comments from others. They say this more about creative writing but it probably rings true with thoughts on the research process.

One of my current thoughts as I am writing this is about the juxtaposition (at least I think this is the right word) about writing about creative writing. The book I am referencing is about reflexivity with creative writing rather than research so it is speaking to me on two levels, as a guidebook to the process and as a reflection back on meaning and why I engage with writing so much.

Hunt, C. And Sampson, F. (2006) Writing: self and reflexivity. Hampshire, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

What do you think about PhD (or research in general) blogging – do we give up our secrets too soon, leaving us open to ‘originality poaching’, or does transparency throughout aid early dissemination with the potential of reaching a wider audience?

I’ve just joined bloglovin to make it easier to follow the blogs I like – it has a tablet app and you should see a widget in the sidebar which will add my blog to your bloglovin feed. Here’s my profile.

Posted on April 12, 2013, in April A-Z Challenge, PhD and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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