Academic Diary of a different type!

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Hi, I was just looking at my post about Les Back's Academic Diary and thought I'd ask if anyone actually writes an academic diary? Is it worth it or just another thing to do?

One of my supervisors has asked me to write one about issues that come up, how I feel about things, my work practices and issues I encounter (at my work place, not PhD work practices), changes in my opinions/thoughts etc.

I have bought a book but, as yet (8 months in) it is blank!!!! :$


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I kept a methodology diary, particularly during my second year which was the year I did all my fieldwork. I found it quite useful, both at the time and also during my write up. I also have multiple notebooks and scraps of paper with reminders to myself. In hindsight it would have been better if I had gotten into the habit of putting all of this stuff in one place!


Thanks for starting this thread - I keep meaning to start doing this because I need to keep a research diary when I start doing my fieldwork to ensure that I am being a reflexive researcher. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it though, either as something typed or something handwritten; I think it will end up being a combination of both, depending on where I am when I write it.

My research is based on something that I already do every day (human/horse interactions) so I really should be writing something about my own interactions daily, I'm just not sure where to start. I have started a blog for this as I am on my laptop every day so it will be easy to access. And possibly I may be able to make some money from it, although that is unrealistic.

Sorry to hijack your thread, but does anyone else have any ideas?


I write a normal diary but I noticed that when I started my PhD, it became almost exclusively an academic diary and 8 months in it's definitely an academic diary. I write about my challenges and successes and how I feel about my research and about my role in it and I've even questioned my own motives for pursuing a topic that most other people wouldn't want to do (end of life care and death studies).

I also write about how reading other people's personal narratives of terminal illness affects me as a person and as a researcher and sometimes I write about how people (and friends) have reacted when I tell them what I do. It's not always a positive reaction. Sometimes I write about how my perspectives on life have changed since I started reading about and studying the end of it on a daily basis.

It's also been immensely helpful as one of the questions I mused on a few months ago - a sort of 'I wonder what I would do if...' has, months later, turned into a research project in it's own right. :-)

I don't always write in it everyday only when I have a question or something to say. It helps me get things off my chest. Many people stop asking me about my work or refuse to talk about it (including my own family who will talk in general terms but who don't want to know the nitty gritty) so I need a way of expressing some of the things I feel about what I do.

I would never put any of it into an academic thesis (apart from the res project obviously) but it has helped me keep things in perspective.

Hope that helps :)