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Reflections on using journals in higher education: a focus group discussion with faculty


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O'Connell, T and Dyment, JE (2006) Reflections on using journals in higher education: a focus group discussion with faculty. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 31 (6). pp. 671-691. ISSN 0260-2938

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Reflective journals have become an increasingly popular tool used by numerous faculty across many
disciplines in higher education. Previous research and narrative reports of journal writing have
explored student perceptions of journal writing, but very little is understood about faculty perceptions.
In this paper, we report on a study involving eight university faculty who teach courses with
outdoor field components in the areas of outdoor recreation, experiential education, or outdoor
education. We present the faculty member's: (1) current practices of journal writing (types of
journals, types of entries, process of journal writing), (2) perceptions of journal writing (rationale,
quality, evaluation) and (3) recommendations to maximize the potential of journal writing. A mixed
methods approach was used that included a 32-item quantitative questionnaire and a focus group
discussion. By and large, the faculty who participated in this study appreciated the pedagogical
potential of journal writing. They were, however, cautious about certain aspects of the journaling
process and offered numerous suggestions for improving the 'journaling experience.' This paper
concludes with several recommendations for consideration by higher education faculty who use
journal writing as an instructional technique.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
Page Range: pp. 671-691
ISSN: 0260-2938
Identification Number - DOI: 10.1080/02602930600760884
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The definitive version is available online at

Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2007
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 03:21
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