Internship Journal Help

Logbooks, journals, or field notebooks are used by participant-observers to document their experiences on a regular systematic, and careful basis. In addition to the descriptive and personal material included in the first two forms, these recording formats focus on particular issues or phenomena. Situations and events are studied, and efforts to explain are made using hunches, inferences, and hypotheses arrived at through careful observation In some cases, researchers record their field interviews and assessment of documents in field notebooks. The following example was drawn from one student internís field notebook.

Our second activity of the evening was a missing personís report. The missing person was a twelve-year-old boy who had been missing from his family since 9 a.m. the boy had been suspended from school that morning, and his sister had heard from friends that he was seen on the school playground in the afternoon. Officer Smith wrote all the information directly from the complainant onto one of the offense/incident report forms, as most of the other officers would have done. He did not write a report right away on the incident. He used his discretion as an officer in his decision to search for the boy rather than spend half an hour to forty-five minutes in one spot writing the report and then handling it in a headquarters. We had a good description of the boy, who was wearing red sweatpants, a black jacket, and a blue cap. The family also showed us a picture of the boy. I believe that Officer Smith made the right decision to look for the boy instead of filing the routine paperwork which would not help find the boy. Officer Smith said he would file the report if he could not locate the boy within a couple hours. We located the boy about an hour later, several blocks away. I believe that Officer smith used his discretion properly in this instance. I believe that the officers need to be given more discretion in the taking of reports. The department has become very strict with reports, ordering the officers to take reports on almost every call they respond to. I believe that it is important for police officers to have discretion because they are dealing with individuals and unique situations.

This student recorded a description of the incident, her personal feelings about it, and then focused on the issue of officer discretion in dealing with situations on patrol. If she were to choose to write a paper about officer discretion, she would be careful to record other incidents showing the need for such discretion.