Academic Internships Office

Examples of Academic Documentation

Following is a summary of the most commonly used methods of academic documentation. Of these, only the "Daily/Weekly Journal or Log" is exempt from academic scholarship.

These academic documentation options and methods should prepare you to present a quality Learning Agreement to your faculty sponsor. Be sure you remain open to their suggestions and recommendations. They are your authority on your career field and this internship. Benefit from their perspectives and wisdom, and remember, as the academic sponsor, they have the final authority on your Learning Plan.

Jump to: Daily / Weekly Journal or Log | Progress Reports | Assigned Readings and Annotated Bibliography | Portfolio Development and Presentation | Internship Presentation | Term Paper or Research Report | Final Reflective Report

Daily / Weekly Journal or Log

A daily journal or a weekly log of learning activities is a good way to track what you do and the benefit of your experiences. You can follow how you are progressing toward achieving your objectives. You can also notice if you are not moving toward your goals and make efforts to direct your work toward your objectives. You may also want to reflect on the topics listed under Final Reflective Report. You will find that responding to these things will make your journal or log a viable and interesting record of the daily learning and growth you have been experiencing. It will also make all of your academic documentation much easier at the end of the term.

Suggested Log / Journal Formats

You can use the following format:

Date: Date of entry/activity
Activity: Description of what you did on this date
Name of person(s) you worked with this day and the related activities
So What? Reflect on what you have learned from this day's activities or from working with this person or these people. Check your learning agreement objectives, the topics for the final report or the other academic benchmarks to document the value of this day.

Alternatively, you can use a format like this:

So What?
Today's Date Describe the activity or activities you were involved in on this day. Name of the person(s) you worked with. Reflect on what you learned from this day's activities orfrom working with this person or these people. Check your learning agreement objectives, the topics for the final report, etc., to document the value of this day.

Your faculty may have other formats they prefer. Any method you choose, these categories may help you in the documentation of your learning on a daily basis.


Realize that the people you work with are a great source for learning. You can learn workplace relationships, expectations, communication methods and skills, teamwork, positive and negative characteristics of work habits and interpersonal skills, and much more. Look analytically at the experience you have with the people you work with.

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Progress Reports

Your faculty sponsor may ask for a weekly progress report or just one report at midterm. Usually these are submitted electronically through e-mail. The method--oral, written or electronic--should be determined at the time the Learning Agreement is written. A progress report should summarize how well you are moving toward the achievement of your objectives. Include each of your objectives, even if there is one that you have not yet begun to achieve. If that is the case, explain how you will accomplish it and note the anticipated timeline for this portion of the experience. The progress report could also be an avenue to address any difficulties you may be having and solicit some guidance from your faculty.

Your faculty may contact your supervisor for their judgment on your progress and performance up to this point. This, too, should be determined at the time the Learning Agreement is written.

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Assigned Readings and Annotated Bibliography

Your faculty sponsor may cite specific readings for you during your internship. You may also find professional publications available to you at your internship site. You should take advantage of the professional literature, newsletters, journals and other resources at your internship. Even if your faculty has not required it, plan to include an Annotated Bibliography in your academic submissions. You may want to consider the following when writing a review of your readings.

Reviewing Readings

  • Name or Title of the periodical or book, the author, publisher, and copyright date.
  • A brief outline (one or two paragraphs) of the main purpose of the book or article.
  • Show the relevancy of the reading to your career objective, academic major, and/or the internship experience.
  • What you learned or gained from the reading.
  • Any principles, theories, and/or ideas that you can apply to your life or work.


All should be done in a scholarly fashion including format, vocabulary and expression.

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Portfolio Development and Presentation

Your faculty may ask that you develop a professional portfolio or add to a portfolio you have already begun. Be sure you do this in a professional manner outlined by your faculty. Each "artifact" should have an explanation of what you learned from creating it and its value in representing your professional skills. At the close of the experience you will schedule a time to present your portfolio to your faculty sponsor, to a group of faculty or other professionals in the field, to other students in your major, or other appropriate audience.

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Internship Presentation

Your faculty sponsor may ask that you present your internship experience as a whole to a group of faculty, other students or other audience. Talk with your faculty near the end of your experience about the criteria and content of this presentation. You must keep in mind that it must be professional in nature, regardless of the nature of the location or audience. Use audio/visual/technological equipment, documents and samples as appropriate for a fully professional presentation. You should dress as is typical of a professional in your field for this presentation. You may want to invite your supervisor or other co-workers to your presentation.

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Term Paper or Research Report

Your faculty sponsor or your employer supervisor can help decide a topic/subject for your paper/report. The research or topic should be an advantage to the employer as well as an academic experience. Your work assignment should be closely integrated in the project and be incorporated in your documentation with research statistics or in any manner that would be a significant contribution to your report/paper. You may partner with your faculty sponsor on a specific research endeavor that matches your internship.

You must write your report in a scholarly manner following the formal writing style appropriate for your field as instructed by your faculty sponsor. The length of the paper/report usually defined by the project itself and the formal report style used. You are encouraged to use tables, charts, graphs and illustrations as long as they are professional quality and clearly enhance the understanding of the information. The level of detail may be influenced by the expectations of your faculty sponsor and/or the number of credits for your internship course. This should be determined at the time the Learning Agreement is written or at least by midterm.

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Final Reflective Report

A Final Reflective Report is not the same as a Term Paper. A Term Paper is focused on a specific topic. A Reflective Report addresses many different aspects of your internship experience, including the initial Objectives.

Please respond to as many of the following topics as your faculty sponsor has indicated appropriate for your experience and your course credits. Your faculty may have additional points for you to address. Refer to these from time to time throughout your internship, especially as you record your experiences in your journal.

  1. Objectives: Thoroughly review each of your objectives and methods and resources as outlined in the Learning Agreement. Discuss how well you were able to achieve each of these and describe the method or resources you used that helped you achieve it. Include any additional resources you used that were not known or expected at the time you wrote your learning agreement. If there were objectives that you did not accomplish, discuss why you were unable to achieve them. If relevant, report how useful the objectives were to your supervisor.
  2. Organization Description: Give a brief description of the organization's history, position in the community, function, and product or service. What part did your unit play in the general operation and success of the organization? Portray your relationship with your supervisor and co-workers.
  3. Benefits of the Internship Experience: What strengths and weaknesses have you discovered about yourself as a result of this experience? What do you see as your next step in addressing any weaknesses or applying your strengths?
  4. Knowledge, Skills, Competencies, etc.: In addition to those discussed in your review of the achievement of your Objectives, discuss how you have increased your knowledge, skills and competencies for your career field through this internship.
  5. Career Development: In what ways has this internship confirmed or modified your ideas and plans for a career? What specific areas of improvement will you need to address to be successful in your chosen field?
  6. Work Attitudes: Based on your observations in your internship work environment, how do you characterize the general attitude of employees toward work? Do you believe this is typical of the work attitude in this career field?
  7. Ethics: What effect do ethics in the workplace have on you as you approached your daily work? To what extent were ethical standards stressed by the employer/supervisor for whom you worked? Does your employer have a written Code of Ethics?
  8. Diversity: In what ways can you identify how diversity was a part of your internship experience? What diversity issues do you think will affect your future as you enter your career field?
  9. Conflict Resolution: Describe any value conflicts you observed or experienced while on your internship and how you dealt with them. In the resolution of such conflicts, what principles of psychology, sociology, or common sense are involved?
  10. Problem Solving: Identify a problem area where you were working or one that you had to solve while on your internship experience:
    1. define the problem clearly
    2. outline relevant facts surrounding the problem
    3. provide suggestions for alternatives that would address the problem
    4. describe the alternative that was applied and the outcome
    5. choose your best solution and explain why.
  11. Organizational Politics: Informal systems of organization develop in all organizations. People in different positions carry influence even though their position does not suggest authority over such things. What did you observe in your internship that reflected centers of influence inconsistent with position?
  12. You: How did this internship affect your attitude toward yourself, your peers (both work and school), your career development, and pursuing further educational experience?
  13. Improving PLU: How well did your classes within your major prepare you for this internship? Was the Academic Internship Office helpful to you? What suggestions would you like to make to your academic department and/or the Academic Internship Office that could benefit students entering an internship? (Include the negative with the positive.)

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