What is a Reflective Journal?
A reflective journal is a way of thinking in a critical and analytical way about your work in progress. It shows how different aspects of your work interconnect.
The journal can record: • where your inspiration comes from • how you make use of your ideas to develop your work • your awareness of the cultural context (setting) in which you work This context includes: other artists’ work and their ideas; the ideas of critics and theorists; social, political, aesthetic and ideological contexts. The journal could include: • research notes • personal comments on your own work • notes/images from gallery visits • quotes • extracts from lectures, tutorials, books, journals • photos/sketches
Critical and analytical writing
Critical writing involves many of the same processes as when reading. So what is Critical reading? To read critically is to make judgements about how a text is written and argued. This is a highly reflective skill requiring you to ‘stand back’ from the text you are reading. You might have to read a text through once to get a basic grasp of content before you launch into an intensive critical reading. These are the keys: • don’t read only for information (surface approach) • do read for clues about views and opinions (deep approach) This means: • comparing the same issue from different points of view • identifying an argument (analysis of ideas/opinions) in the text • identifying conclusions and spotting how different people arrive at different conclusions • deciding what you think, based on the evidence available Then, in your own writing: • look at the subject from different viewpoints • show a clear line of reasoning • present evidence to support your reasoning • be clear what your conclusions are
Here are some ways to help you read critically: • read beginning and end of text to get an overview • colour code different viewpoints • underline key words, phrases, or sentences • write comments in the margins...
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