As defined by the IB, “The process journal is a generic term used to refer to the record of progress maintained by the student throughout the project.”
In other words, the process journal is intended to be a tool for you to document your progress and to reflect on your learning along the way. It also provides evidence of your academic honesty in preparing your project and gives insight into your working skills. It is not intended to be a diary however; rather it is more a way to follow the main steps of your progress.
You will need to have no fewer than 10 entries, and will most likely not have more than 20. This journal is similar to what you might know from the Arts or Design process journals you have made in previous years. If you want a rough outline of what to include, make sure you have one entry for each strand of the PP criteria – which would be 12 entries. If you do this, creating your final report will be significantly easier as this will ensure you have enough evidence for each criteria. Also make sure that you work on your process journal regularly, probably weekly, as you move through your project. Otherwise it will not be meaningful nor helpful to you nor to your supervisor.
Using the process journal
This is where you should…
- Document the planning and the development of the project,
- Keep useful information (photos, quotes, comments, notes, mind-maps, ideas, etc.)
- the recording of interactions with sources, for example, teachers, supervisors, etc.
- explore ideas and solutions
- record selected, annotated and/or edited research and to maintain a bibliography
- reflect on stages of the project and demonstrate your reflection on learning
- evaluate completed work
The Process Journal is…
- an evolving record of intents, processes, and accomplishments
- a place to record initial thoughts and developments, brainstorming, possible lines of inquiry and further questions raised
- a place for recording interactions with sources, for example teachers, supervisors, external contributors
- a place to record selected, annotated and/or edited research and to maintain a bibliography
- a place for storing useful information, for example quotations, pictures, ideas, photographs
- a means of exploring ideas and solutions
- a place for evaluating work completed
- a place for reflecting on learning
- devised by the students in a format that suits his or her needs
- a record of reflections and formative feedback received
It is NOT…
- used on a daily basis (unless this is useful for the student)
- written up after the process has been completed
- additional work on top of the project, it is part of and supports the project
- a diary with detailed writing about what was done
- a static document with only one format
Process Journal (criteria A, B, C, D)
Your process journal is not assessed by itself, however the entries you choose will form part of your final report and will provide the evidence needed for this part of your project. As stated on p. 25 of the IB’s Guide to Projects “Extracts should simply be supporting evidence of the process and will not be individually assessed.”
Example of a Process Journal created with a Blog.
The Process Journal can be created any way that you want. Here are some ideas.
The format of your documentation might be in the form of:
- a mindmap
- written narrative
- timelines or action plans
- annotated illustrations
- images of artefacts
- visual or audio material
- annotated screenshots
All of these things might be handwritten or drawn, or created electronically. You should select your format and tool carefully, and you are encouraged to have a mixture of formats as appropriate to your purpose. For example, you might have a handwritten reflection journal, but also use annotated screenshots because your product is a website. Or you might take handwritten notes during an interview, but also have an audio recording of it as well. Next, you might decide to take all of this documentation and present your journal on a website or tool such as Evernote, taking pictures of your notes and uploading your audio file. Conversely, pictures and other information can also be printed out and added to a hand-made scrapbook of your progress, however you would need to consider how you would store any media files. An option would be to have a Google Drive folder dedicated to this purpose.
Here is a link to some digital tools you could use for your Process Journal.