Prof. Jonathan R. Cohen

A Note About Journals

Writing a journal entry is a personal process. There is no one right way to do it. Entries vary from person to person, and from week to week. The overarching purpose of the journal is to provide a space for you to reflect on your negotiations or, occasionally, on other negotiation-related topics. Donít spend your time recording a play-by-play of what occurred during your negotiations. Rather focus on your insights about yourself as a negotiator and negotiation generally. Analyze what went on, donít simply describe it. For example, a good entry may pick a specific part of a negotiation and use it as a window for looking at a broader issue.

A typical entry should be about three pages, type-written, double-spaced, but if you have more or less to say about a given week, do not feel restricted by that guideline. Please put your name and the date the entry is due at the top. Most students find it helpful to keep electronic copies of their entries. However, unless special circumstances make it necessary (e.g., you have to be out of town on the day journals are due), please do not submit your journal entries by email.

While your journal entries will be kept confidential, some students can be distracted by the prospect of having their journals read. Am I writing what the instructor "wants to hear?" Do I have to do what the instructor suggests to get a good grade? Let me assure you that my sole interest is that you reflect deeply about what you do. Though I may write questions or comments on your entries, what you do with that feedback, as well as with other feedback that you receive in the course, is up to you. Indeed, I very much want people to make their own choices about what types of negotiators they want to be.

At root, your journal is your space. Write in it what you want to.

Copyright 2003 Jonathan R. Cohen. Teachers are free to copy these materials for educational use in their courses only, provided that appropriate acknowledgment of the author is made. For permission to use these materials for any other purpose, contact the author.