Volume 6 Issue 2 (2010): Research Practice in Art and Design: Experiential Knowledge and Organised Inquiry
Experiential Knowledge in Doctoral Research

The Conversational Self: Structured Reflection Using Journal Writings

Kaye Shumack
Published November 17, 2010
  • structured reflection,
  • design and conversational learning,
  • self as agency,
  • journal writing as research,
  • experiential knowledge,
  • narrative and design thinking
  • ...More


This article presents an approach for structured reflection by a designer through journal writing. The journal writing situates the agency of the designer, using a range of internal conversations as a way to expand horizons and perspectives. Through a structured approach using journal entries, experiences of the design process are introduced as reflective internal talkback. In the approach that is described, decision points and perspectives are negotiated and potentially contested through a series of voices of self as I, Me, You, and We. These voices are intertwined within the journal narrative and are proposed as a useful framework for negotiating and effectively engaging with design complexity. The article introduces the conceptual backgrounds with reference to conversation as a process of learning. The specific dynamics of the journal writing approach are explained and then illustrated in a case study. The case study describes how the approach is applied for a specific design project.