Sample Journal Questions

For the Reflective Research Paper

Download Sample Journal Questions (PDF)

Service-Learning Contact

Journaling Guidelines

Weeks 1 and 2

Develop answers for the following questions.

(Write in paragraphs not in single words or sentences.)

Journal questions

  • What do you hope to accomplish in this experience? What are your specific goals?
  • What are your expectations for this experience?
  • What are your initial reactions to your first few days? What are you looking forward to? Is there anything you are disappointed about?
  • What is going to be your biggest challenge in this project?
  • What contribution to society does this organization make?
  • Do you feel like you fit into the organization? Why or why not?

Weeks 3 and 4

Assignments and continue journaling

  • Learn about the history of the organization.
  • Get a copy of the organizational chart and job descriptions within the organization or department.
  • Read the entire website of the organization and read relevant marketing materials. If possible ask for an annual report or similar document.
  • If you have identified challenges or disappointments in your initial expectations of the project, put together an action plan to deal with these.

Weeks 5 and 6

Journal Questions

  • What goals have you met so far? What goals do you still need to meet?  Have you changed any of your goals?
  • How has your perception of the organization changed since you started?
  • What steps have you taken to address the challenges and disappointments that you identified in your early journal entries?
  • What is surprising to you about this project?
  • What have you contributed to the organization?
  • What have you done that has made your supervisor’s life easier?

Weeks 7 and 8

Journal Questions

  • What have you learned from the routine or boring parts of the project?
  • What do you think are your strongest attributes in this project?
  • What surprises have you had?
  • If you are working in a group project, how have you been distributing workload?  Is it a fair way to distribute the load.
  • What is your role in the group? What would you like your role to be?
  • In what ways do you feel like you can improve your performance?
  • How did you react to a bad day or disappointment? How would you like to react?
  • Is your personality a fit for this organization? Do you notice particular personality types working in this industry?

Weeks 9 and 10


  • Identify the most boring or routine activity in this experience and put together a plan for turning it into an opportunity for learning something new.
  • Meet with your group to put together a mid-term report on your project.
  • Ask your employer for a progress meeting.
  • Research other organizations that meet similar needs to this one. What can your organization learn from them?

Weeks 11 and 12

Journal Questions

  • How did you accomplish your goals for this experience?
  • What did you learn about yourself through this experience?
  • Were your expectations for this experience realistic?  Why or why not?
  • What was your biggest success in this project?
  • How did you change as a result of this experience?
  • What have you done that you didn’t ever think you would be able to do?
  • What impact does your organization have on the community?

Weeks 13 and 14

Journal Questions

  • What changes would you make if you had the chance to do this over again?
  • What would you do differently in this organization if you were the leader?
  • How would you describe your work-style based on your behavior at this project?
  • How are you different than you were when you started this experience?
  • Have your views of particular people or organizations changed?
  • What was your biggest success or contribution to the project?
  • What did you learn from your challenges in this experience?
  • How do you want your colleagues/clients to remember you?
  • What recommendations would you give to other students doing a service-learning project at this location?

Weeks 15 and 16


  • Write a summary of your performance from your supervisor’s point of view.  What would he/she say about you? Write this in the third person.
  • Think about a new career option that you learned about through this organization. Research that career.
  • Write a description of the project that can be added to your resume.
  • Write a handwritten thank you note to your supervisor and 2 or 3 other people at your project site that had an impact on you. Keep in touch with these people after the semester ends.
  • Complete your Reflective Research Paper and submit it to your instructor.