Your story matters ...

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Usually, history is written only by the powerful. When the history of COVID-19 is written, let's make sure that doesn't happen.

The goal of the Pandemic Journaling Project is to make sure that ordinary people struggling through this pandemic have their voices heard, and their experiences remembered.

Make sure what you and your family are living through is not forgotten. Join the Project, and start telling your own story. You don't need a computer, and you don't even need to write anything to participate. All you need is a phone. It's easy, and it will only take as long as you want to spend - as little as 15 minutes a week.

Start your journal

Here’s how it works.

Once a week, you'll get an email or text message with a link. We'll ask a few questions, then it's your chance to describe, in your own words, how the pandemic is affecting you. You can:

pencil icon  Write it down.

microphone icon  Record yourself talking.

camera icon Take a photo of something important to you and write, or talk, about it.

We'll save your journal entries here, in the archive we're building. With each entry, you'll choose whether to keep it private (for yourself and our research team) or give us permission to share it publicly on this site. You can access your own journal, download it, and keep it for the future on our secure MyJournal page

Before you start, we’ll ask some questions about you, your health and wellbeing, your views, and the impact of the coronavirus on you and those you care about. We'll ask a few questions each week too, right before you start your weekly journal entries. Your answers to these survey questions, together with your journal entries, will be preserved as a digital archive. They will help researchers learn how different people are experiencing the pandemic, identify challenges in our country’s pandemic response, and work toward solutions.

Start your journal

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Who created the Pandemic Journaling Project, and why?

The Pandemic Journaling Project was created by a team of researchers who want to accomplish several things:

  • Give people a chance to record their own experiences of these times, and create a record for the future.
  • See how our own experiences compare to others'.
  • Create an archive that can help researchers understand what we're living through.

In addition, research has shown that writing about our experiences can have positive mental health effects. Participating may help some people cope with these challenging circumstances.

Will I need to give my name?

No. We won’t ask for your name or any other personal information -- just an email address or phone number so we can text or email you a reminder each week. We will never call you. Your contact information will not be shared with anyone else, or used for any purpose unrelated to this project.

¿Puedo participar en español?

Para responder a nuestro cuestionario y realizar anotaciones de diario en español, haga clic en el botón “Join the Project” y seleccione “En español.”

Does it cost anything to participate?

No, participation is free.

Why the survey questions? Can’t I just record my thoughts?

Before you start your journal, we'll ask some survey questions to help us understand a little about who is journaling, and to help us make sure we are recording a wide range of perspectives.

In the first week we'll ask quite a few questions, which will probably take about 7 minutes to answer. In future weeks, we'll ask just a few (~2 minutes). You can skip any questions you don't want to answer.

What should I talk about in my journal entries?

Each week you'll have two chances to record your thoughts. We call each of these a journal entry.

  • For your first journal entry, the question will be the same each week: "How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now?"
  • For your second journal entry each week, we'll suggest two new topics, and you'll choose one.

If you upload any audio recordings, please be sure to record only your voice — not anyone else's. If you upload any photos and give us permission to make them public on the website, we will digitally blur any faces before sharing them.

    Will my journal entries be public?

    Every time you submit a journal entry, we will ask if you give permission to make that entry public. Each week, we will post a few excerpts from journal entries -- written, audio, and/or photos -- that participants have given us permission to share anonymously. To protect confidentiality, we will not include any photos showing faces, or displaying personal names, on the website. For the same reason, we will not post any recordings that include more than one voice.

    For now, only the research team can access all journal entries. They will be used by researchers for the purposes of research, including academic publications and presentations. In 25 years, your journal entries will become accessible to the public as a historical record stored in a university archive. Your contact information (email and/or phone number) will never be made public.

    Before you start, we’ll tell you more about how we’ll maintain your privacy.

    Will my survey responses be public?

    For now, only the research team can access your full set of survey responses. They will be used by researchers for the purposes of research, including academic publications and presentations. In 25 years, survey responses along with journal entries will become accessible to the public as a historical record stored in a university archive. Your contact information (email and/or phone number) will never be made public.

    All questions are voluntary. You can choose which to answer, and you can skip questions if you’d like.

    Before you start, we’ll tell you more about how we’ll maintain your privacy.

    I don’t live in the United States. Can I participate?

    Yes, anyone (age 18 or older) can participate, no matter where you are in the world.

    What if I already have a journal?

    Maybe you already have some handwritten notes, or you've been typing something up. Or maybe you've taken a photo that really captures your experience of the pandemic right now. Each week starting now you'll have a chance to add additional material to your journal.

    What are the Project’s Terms of Service?

    • All materials you submit should be original – that is, created or owned by you – and are subject to United States Copyright law.
    • We will deposit your journal entries and survey data in a digital data repository for the next 25 years. A digital data repository is a secure online space that helps researchers share information they learn from their studies with other researchers, who can then use that information in their own studies, public presentations, and publications like articles and books. This way we can all keep learning together. Researchers who want to use information from the Pandemic Journaling Project will have to follow certain rules. They may only publish images where faces have been digitally blurred. Also, they may only publish transcripts of audio recordings with identifying information removed -- they will not be allowed to share the recordings themselves. Researchers using the digital repository will not have access to your email or phone number.
    • After 25 years from the conclusion of this study, your contributions will become part of a university archive as a historical record accessible to the public. Your submissions will be used by the archive to support its research and teaching mission. Your submissions will be archived in the form you submitted them, as original text, audio recording, or image. They will not be altered to conceal your identity. However, to protect your privacy, the contact information you have provided (email address and/or phone number) will never be made part of this public record, and we will never record your name.
    • Your submission must not violate any laws. If we receive a lawful subpoena or court order, we may be required to turn over any contributions and related information (email address, descriptive information, etc.).
    • The journal material that is shared on this site is owned by the participants who produced it. If you produce material that is posted on this site, it is yours to use and share as you wish. For any material you did not produce yourself, copying and sharing is not allowed. If you are a researcher affiliated with a university or research institution and would like to apply for access to journal materials for research purposes, please contact one of the lead investigators for more information.
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    Learn more about the Pandemic Journaling Project.