Diary Notations

By Ike Kamphof

MA in Media Studies: Digital Cultures

Objective statement / Intended effect of the tool

Template researching Lived Experience, by Phenomenological (self) observation

  1. Epoché: suspending ordinary grasp/natural attitude: let go of pre-understandings, knowledge, frameworks, expectations for an attitude of wonder…


  • What appears? (see, hear, taste, smell, feel…)
  • Describe, don’t explain, don’t interpret
  • Horizontalize/equalize


How are you directed at the object? (In case of interactive objects, what is the main script: What does it make you do? How does it invite/inhibit actions?)

Possiblilize: to find the invariant core of the phenomenon (What if…)

  1. To dive deeper into the observation of sense experience, pay specific attention to the main shapes of sensual experience (called ‘Existentials’ by Van Manen 2014):

Space, Time, Body, Materiality, Relation, Mood…

  1. If helpful you can use the basic scheme of Verbeek/Ihde to analyse the I-media-world relationships that characterize the experience and handling of the media:
  • Experience: Relations of mediation: embodiment relation, hermeneutic relation (reduction/amplification); Alterity relation; Background relation
  • Action: inhibit/invite
  • Is the media multistable?

In sum:

What is the structure of this phenomenon?

What is the experience of it like?


  • At home task: diary notations of observations on experiencing working with an analog medium that is strange to you in its affordances and constraints (during Covid changed to experiencing online education). Choose two significant experiential themes from your notes and turn these into descriptions (phenomenological anecdotes).
Course specific or not 

Is originally designed for MA Media Studies: Digital Cultures but could be applied other courses when the aim is to learn noticing one’s sense experience and train observation skills.

Target group specific or not 

Master’s students but might be possible with Bachelor’s too

When do you use it? 

When training observation and writing skills

Why do you use it? (Pedagogical approach)

What is the structure of this phenomenon?

What is the experience of it like?

See objective statement

Additional biblio sources