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Writing Projects » Essays Etc. » Journals

In the double-entry journal form, the page is divided vertically with a line down the middle creating two columns. The column on the left is usually for recording observations or facts, the column on the right for interpretations or responses to those facts. For instance, the writer of a dialectical notebook in double-entry form may title the left-hand side "Notes" and the right-hand side "Reactions":

Dialectical Notebook
On this side, a student records lecture notes, highlights of a class discussion, or a summary of a reading done outside of class. On this side, a student may compare her experience with something described in the text, disagree with comments made in class, relate the discussion or reading to something learned in another class, or solve a problem posed by the teacher.

Many different kinds of journals can be written in the double-entry form. For example, you could set-up a kind of observation log, notebook, or reading journal so that the left side is headed Observe/Record and the right side is headed Interpret/Respond. On the left you might write such things as class notes, quotations (or paraphrases or summaries) from readings, or descriptions of a scene or a work of art. On the right, you might reflect on your feelings, analyze a writer's argument, evaluate a work of art, or discuss a topic introduced in class.

If you're keeping a journal for one or more of your classes this term, take a minute to think about how you could use the double-entry form. In the box below, write left and right side headings that you could use to organize your journal and the kinds of writing you might include in each:

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