Research Resources

Resource 7: Keeping a reflexive diary

Below a number of specific provocations are outlined to encourage you to think critically about how who you are, where you are and who you were with, shaped your research practice. Keep a note of these questions and reflect upon them as you complete your study, making notes in a research diary. A successful diary is dependent upon ‘deep’ consideration of events, moments, and occurrences; with people, places and politics. Writing a diary means being prepared to question yourself and to not be embarrassed to commit your thoughts to paper.  This isn’t always easy, especially if you haven’t written a diary before. The provocations here are designed to ease you in to this process. Try to avoid short, one-word answers. Write in prose, and once you have begun, let your writing take you in any direction it leads.

  • How did you find the process of interviewing, conducting surveys, engaging in observations? What did you think worked well? What would you change?
  • Did anything particular happen that struck you as significant? Was anything particularly mundane or dull? 
  • What was the most interesting thing you found out from the interview, the focus group etc.? Why was it interesting?
  • What surprised you? (What didn’t surprise you?) Why?
  • Were there any moments where your role as a researcher became particularly apparent? If so, why? Do you think it mattered to the research you conduct?
  • How were your engagements with participants? Were they relaxed, or uneasy, awkward or comfortable? How did this shape how the research progressed?