This paper shows how I used my research journal mainly as a reflective tool throughout the process of applying for and completing a PhD. Embarking on a PhD can be daunting for anyone and I was challenged by my lack of academic self-efficacy. In the absence of a formal academic mentor my research journal became my confidante, a tool that helped me make progress at times when barriers to research seemed insurmountable. It helped me decrease the cognitive dissonance I was experiencing about issues of subjectivity/objectivity and the positioning of my self in the research. This paper shares research journal entries as I take you on my research journey. The entries make public some of the values I uphold for my research and show how I found ways to embed my own epistemology as an Australian Aboriginal (Koori) researcher into a PhD that also meets a Western academic research paradigm.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Research Journal, Research Diary, Indigenous, Research Self-Efficacy, Early Career Academic, Qualitative Methods, Reflective Research

Author Bio(s)

Michelle Dickson is an Australian Aboriginal (Darkinjung/Ngarigo) academic in the Sydney School of Public Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney. She is the course-coordinator and lecturer on the Graduate Diploma of Indigenous Health Promotion Program, teaching graduate studies to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health professionals. She has particular interest in community development, health empowerment and bringing education and community into the same place at the same time. In addition to community health experience, she has a strong background in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, employment, teaching, research, development and evaluation. Michelle has a passion for Indigenous workforce development and is completing a PhD exploring the work of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people working in the health sector. She has worked, clinically, in mental health and wellbeing, specifically in the alcohol and other drug sector and in health promotion with children, families and in school communities. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: michelle.dickson@sydney.edu.au.


I wish to pay respect and thank my current supervisors for their support and wisdom. I also acknowledge my first supervisor, whose spirit remains connected to this work.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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