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Learning Journal Instructions

for
Methods of Social Research

Learning Journal (100 points)

The purpose of this Learning Journal is to create and maintain a log of what you're learning in this course...what interests you...and what you think of various things. Calling it a journal doesn't imply that it has to be "personal," although what you learn IS personal...but its not a "confessional" of sorts.

Think of it, among other ways, as an on-going "research" of your own...research into your own thinking and reactions, analyzes, and observations. This means you will need to be attentive to it on a regular basis. It will be hard to "go back" over lengths of time and various sources and catch up without it appearing to have been done just that way.

This Learning Journal (LJ) will also be the basis for your Class Presentation (CP) toward the end of the Semester...which will consist of a summary or report on what you've entered into your LJ. The LJ itself is worth 100 points and the CP is worth 40 points, so the quality of your overall course grade is dependent on doing both of these assignments well.

The sources for your LJ are many:

Lectures
Class Discussions
Textbook Chapters
Articles from the Research Reader
Online Reader materials
Prompt responses on Discussion Board
Meaningful Quotes from anything you've read...with analysis and response
Random sources such as Media articles and polls
Internet websites
Book read for the DA assignment
Evaluative responses written on your Analysis Papers
Observations as you live your life

Guidelines for Doing the LJ:

1. It must be typed.
2. Keep it on disk or in a bundle of separate sheets.
3. You may check with me from time to time as to how you're doing with it.
4. Don't delay getting it started.
5. You don't have to "date" the entries...I'll assume they progress timewise, although you certainly can "go back" to ideas/issues from an earlier time.
6. Length of entries...as well as the LJ...is arbitrary...do what you can and what you think is adequate.

Remember...there are very few "original" thoughts...that's not the standard by which to judge the quality of a thought. Rather, having a thought of your own...for the first time or a recalling of it...means you've had it and it's original to YOU. Repeating the thought of someone else is not the same as having thoughts of your own. Thinking and reflecting is a solitary effort...there's no avoiding this aspect of it.