Writing a Journal

One of the requirements for the ECON394 course is to keep a journal. You do not need to send me individual journal entries, just save them electronically and give me an electronic copy of the file with all of the entries when the internship is over. You should have an entry for each week. If you have already started working, please create entries for previously worked weeks.

The journal has two roles:

  1. It needs to function as a log or factual record of what you did on your internship and this includes indicating the number of hours you worked each week (not for each task, just a total for the week so at the end of your internship we can compare your total to the minimum requirement of 200 hours). If all you did the first week was import data, then the entry for that week will be short, for example:

    Week 1: Worked xx hours; imported (indicate what it is if you know, e.g., money supply) data into excel spreadsheets. If you go to a training class, mention this and indicate the type of training. If you go to a seminar, indicate speaker and topic.

  2. The second role for the journal is reflection. A theme of academic internship courses is connecting school to work. This may come out, indirectly, in the paper you write. But it can also be addressed, directly, in the journal by your efforts to interpret what you are doing on your internship from the perspective of what you have learned in school. This is what I mean by reflection. Sometimes there is nothing to reflect on; if you are just entering data, then simply mention this activity and skip the reflection. But presumably you will have some tasks that are analytical and not just mechanical. Try to make journal descriptions of these tasks a bit more reflective.

Briefly describe what you did and then try to relate your work to the economics you have learned so far. For example, two years ago a student had an internship with a consulting firm that was researching the market for phone cards. A diary-like journal entry would simply mention “analyzed price and quantity data.” For non-majors these are just numbers. An economics major should be thinking about this from the perspective of his/her training in economics: such concepts are part of a bigger picture – a demand function, whether current or constant values should be sought, how an elasticity measure could be derived, etc.

Take me back to the main page for ECON394