The research journey: Why it is important to think about it, as a vehicle to becoming a more competent researcher
Academic Conferences and Publishing International
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Business
In this paper, I draw on my personal experience of compiling a research journal to reflect on the research processes I was involved with as part of a study on family life and leisure in New Zealand. The research design for this study was based on phenomenology, where the experience of the subjects being studied was significant and involved developing an understanding of the lived experiences of pre‐birth and post‐birth couples, where the way they acted was dependent upon their understanding and meaning of their behavior (Waters, 1994). This study focused on two key life stages, first‐time pregnancy and first‐time parenthood, which is an under developed area of research in family leisure studies, as previous approaches have tended to concentrate on all phases of family life (Beck & Arnold 2008). The first stage of the study involved two focus group studies with a pre‐birth group and a post‐birth group and the second stage involved interviews with male and female partners at the pre‐birth and post‐birth stages, individually and then together as a couple. The final stage of the research involved a number of interviews with leisure facility managers working in the study area. The first part of the paper discusses the meaning and importance of reflection as an important part of the research journey, as a means of evaluating personal experiences as a researcher. The second part of this paper provides justification for using a research journal to record experiences to develop and understand research. In the third part of the paper, a number of the key research issues (research extracts) that emerged as part of the process of recording my research experience during the study are discussed and evaluated. In concluding the paper, the benefits of reflection through journal writing are re‐affirmed and through reading the paper, I hope to encourage some of you to consider recording your own research experience in a research journal.