Academic Journals

When you keep a journal for a college or university class, avoid the extremes of either the personal diary or the impersonal notebook. At the one extreme you find diaries, which are private accounts of a writer's thoughts and feelings and which may include more writing about emotion than intellect. At the other extreme are documents such as class notebooks, which are recordings of other people's ideas. I diagram the differences this way:

Diary_Journal_Class Notebook

[I-centered] [I/subject] [subject-centered]

For academic purposes, I suggest a judicious blend of both diary and class notebook, taking from the diary the crucial first-person pronoun I (as in I think and I wonder) and taking from the notebook the focus on a given subject matter (English, history, political science).

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