10 May 2006

Diaries and Fieldnotes in the Research Process

It is common to hear people talk about 'writing up' research. Implicit in the phrase is the sense that writing is a stage that occurs principally when the research has finished and is a straightforward process of telling what was done and what conclusions can be drawn. However, the process of research involves many forms of writing, from letter writing and minute taking to academic papers and formal research reports.

The aim of this issue is to consider one form of research writing that has received relatively little attention, yet which is central to the research process, especially, but not exclusively, for those conducting qualitative or action research studies - the research diary. Research diaries are considered as part of a broad category alongside other methods of recording such as research logs and fieldnotes. Particular approaches to notetaking, the use of visual material in diary record keeping, as well as practical issues are discussed.

This issue also contains extracts from three separate research projects. The examples are not intended to be prescriptive, they are simply offered as working examples of research diaries from actual research projects.

Darren Newbury

Research Issues in Art, Design and Media