Journaling in qualitative research

In searching for the most appropriate phenomenological methodology for my thesis I’ve realised the value of journaling in research as a form of triangulation to validate the data collected (Smith, 1999). Building on the notebooks of thoughts and questions that I’ve compiled right from the start of my EdD journey, reflexive diaries as journals can become part of the auditing process in qualitative studies and so improve the reliability of research (Lincoln and Guba, 1982).

Since first taking Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology, because it was an approach to remove bias from findings, I’ve wrestled with my mind to eventually make the right choice. Incorporating sound professional practice for dependability was initially my main priority but that comes at a cost with bracketing and disregarding my own lived experiences of maker education. Losing those years of educational insights to suspend biases does not form part of my axiological positioning or reasons for entering the world of academia, but illuminating those lived experiences of maker educations with teachers as co-researchers is the ultimate consideration for my work.

Taking a hermeneutic phenomenological approach by using Heidegger and Gadamer’s philosophies allows me to make personal experiences and biases explicit. Journaling has become a way to note pre-understandings about maker education as a phenomenon before I reach the collection and analysing data phases of my research study, and additionally to track changes in my thinking and decision making.


Lincoln, Y.S. and Guba, E.G., 1982. Establishing Dependability and Confirmability in Naturalistic Inquiry Through an Audit.

Smith, B.A., 1999. Ethical and methodologic benefits of using a reflexive journal in hermeneutic‐phenomenologic research. Image: The Journal of Nursing Scholarship31(4), pp.359-363.

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

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