Learning from work is an important aspect of student and professional life when working within the health profession. Personal journals are one way that health professionals are able to document their experiences. These journals also hold a wealth of information about the student experience on placement. To analyse the content of journals a qualitative research analytical method is required. There are many different methodological underpinnings or approaches within qualitative research and it is important that the researchers consider their own world view and the context of the research and the data to be evaluated when selecting a qualitative methodology to utilise. This paper discusses an overview of the process of choosing a qualitative framework for the analysis of the descriptions contained within student personal journals. The paper describes the development and validity checking of a coding or sourcebook for qualitative descriptive analysis of student personal journals.