...Referencing your Reflective Journal: Two Approaches

This page aims to demonstrate how students might go about citing and referencing their reflective learning journal in academic assignments.  The examples broadly follow principles of the Harvard academic referencing system (which can be reviewed, here: ...Reference Lists).  A fundamental principle of this system is that whenever a source is used to inform academic writing the original author is credited.  This holds true even when the author is you!

However some academic institutions are committing to anonymous marking to support impartial assessment practices.  In this case, acknowledging one's own journal would jeopardize anonymity, even if a student's number were used in place of their name. 

This post, therefore, demonstrates two ways that students can ensure their work remains anonymous, while following the Harvard system and also ensuring all sources are given due acknowledgement. The first is to replace a real name with a pseudonym, or  'Student X'.  The second approach follows the convention for citing and referencing sources without an identifiable author. 

The sample text includes examples of in-text citations in the following contexts:
  1. In-text citation including quoted text (and, therefore, a page or date reference)
  2. Indented - longer - quote, accompanied by a reference
  3. Reference to an appendix, containing verbatim journal extract
  4. In-text citation, referencing the source. No page or date required as no direct quotation is included 
1. Using a pseudonym or initials

In-text citation
… I observed the year 3 class teacher (Miss A) frequently articulating high expectations of her pupils. During one planning meeting she said that pupil B had been in her previous class and that he ‘had always been a gifted child, since nursery’ (Student C, 2016, 1 Nov). Her explicit reference to pupils’ potential appeared to me to have a positive impact on both pupil behaviour and on the wider learning environment. 

At the end of the lesson I told pupil B that it was time to pack away. He looked upset and said: ‘But I haven’t finished.’  I asked if he wanted my help and he said: ‘Yes.’ He stayed for five minutes into lunch time and completed the task with my assistance, and with that of two other pupils (D & E) who insisted on carrying-on their work during their lunch break. 
(Student C, Reflective Journal, 2 Nov 2016)

Notwithstanding Miss A’s positivity, and potential impact of the well-documented Pygmalion effect, assessment data appeared to reflect low achievement in class A3, and I reflected on the implications in my journal (see appendix). While the creative approach to the curriculum at school Z helps engage and motivate students implications for my own practice include ensuring that learning outcomes are planned and met, to ensure all pupils make the required progress (Student A, 2016).

Reference List
Student A (2016) Reflective Journal. University of East London.

Appendix: Reflective Journal Extract

3rd November 2014
I embrace positive behaviour management in primary education, but feel it must be supplemented by high-quality pedagogy: thorough planning, delivery involving precise modelling, secure subject knowledge … The staff in School X are so good – so creative – that they seldom engage in or rely on explicit lesson planning. Looking back over the last two weeks there are a number of curriculum outcomes which have been sacrificed for the sake of creativity.  Where the balance should be struck?

2. Treating the source as if it had no name

In-text citation
… I observed the year 3 class teacher (Miss A) frequently articulating high expectations of her pupils. During one planning meeting she said that pupil B had been in her previous class and that he ‘had always been a gifted child, since nursery’ (Reflective Journal, 1 Nov 2016). Her explicit reference to pupils’ potential appeared to me to have a positive impact on both pupil behaviour and on the wider learning environment. 

At the end of the lesson I told pupil B that it was time to pack away. He looked upset and said: ‘But I haven’t finished.’  I asked if he wanted my help and he said: ‘Yes.’ He stayed for five minutes into lunch time and completed the task with my assistance, and with that of two other pupils (D & E) who insisted on carrying-on their work during their lunch break. 
(Reflective Journal, 2 Nov 2016)

Notwithstanding Miss A’s positivity, and potential impact of the well-documented Pygmalion effect, assessment data appeared to reflect low achievement in class A3, and I reflected on the implications in my journal (see appendix). While the creative approach to the curriculum at school Z helps engage and motivate students implications for my own practice include ensuring that learning outcomes are planned and met, to ensure all pupils make the required progress (Reflective Journal, 2016).

Reference List
Reflective Journal (2016) London: University of East London.

Appendix: Reflective Journal Extract

3rd November 2014
I embrace positive behaviour management in primary education, but feel it must be supplemented by high-quality pedagogy: thorough planning, delivery involving precise modelling, secure subject knowledge … The staff in School X are so good – so creative – that they seldom engage in or rely on explicit lesson planning. Looking back over the last two weeks there are a number of curriculum outcomes which have been sacrificed for the sake of creativity.  Where the balance should be struck?
***

This approach could also be adopted when reference is made to a research diary, critical incident file, or any other form of learning log.  Whichever approach is decided upon it is important to be consistent, and not to switch from one style to another.  Aim for accuracy of citation and clarity of each acknowledgement.  Please subscribe, or check back for edits and updates.


References and further reading

Anglia Ruskin University (2015) Guide to the Harvard Style of Referencing. 5th edn. Available at: https://libweb.anglia.ac.uk/referencing/files/Harvard_referencing_2015.pdf (Accessed: 12 Dec 2016)

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2010) Cite Them Right: the essential referencing guide. 8th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (See: http://www.citethemrightonline.com/)

Research in Teacher Education (no date) Instructions for Authors. Available at: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Schools/Cass/Research/Research-in-Teacher-Education/Instructions-for-authors (Accessed: 12 December2016).

University of East London (no date) Info skills: How to Harvard reference.

Referencing this post?

Ayres, D. (2016) Referencing your Reflective Journal: Two Approaches. Available at: http://danieljayres.blogspot.co.uk/p/referencing-your-reflectijournal.html (Accessed: [Date]).

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