Somewhere I Belong: Research Journals & Interviews Directions

20 Sep

The Research Journal

Research is a critical part of college writing, but it is also just a really great way to learn more and be able to think about things from new perspectives. The research journal asks you to do the following:

  • Briefly summarize the main points of a single piece of research you may include in your Somewhere I Belong project. This might be a newspaper article, a scholarly journal (check the StJ library databases), a credible website, a documentary, or any number of primary and secondary sources. If you aren’t sure if it is appropriate, ask.
  • Why is this piece credible?
  • Critique the piece: How well was it written? Is the argument convincing? Is anything missing?
  • Is the piece useful to your research? How and why? Or why not? If the piece is not useful for your purposes, what are the purposes for which it would be useful?
  • Use MLA style citations

The complete journal should be 250+ words, posted to your blog.

The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) is a great place to find more information about writing research papers and using MLA style citations. You may use a citation creator, such as


The Interview

Your interview should include at least 20 questions. Prepare beforehand by having a list of questions ready and having a focus. Do allow yourself to improvise. Don’t ignore something interesting that you think might help your project just because it doesn’t “fit” with your questions.

You may want to record it with a cell phone or your laptop. It is easier to transcribe after the interview than attempt to write a person’s responses word-for-word as he/she speaks.

Make sure that you explain to the interviewee before you begin the interview that it is for school, that you will be posting the interview to your blog, and that it may end up, in whole or in part, in your final project. They may want to remain anonymous, or they may choose not to participate. That is their right.

Ask open ended questions. Yes/no questions will get you short answers that won’t reveal much.

If a person seems uncomfortable with a question, do not push the question on them.



One Response to “Somewhere I Belong: Research Journals & Interviews Directions”

  1. William Torgerson October 19, 2011 at 2:04 PM #

    I also use the research journal except that I call it a “research diary.” I’m def going to incorporate some of your directions here. I include the golden line strategy where I ask them to pick out quotes and write from them.

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