Diary Methods

Categories: Other, Qualitative, Research, Research Methods, Tools and Resources, Writing and Editing

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DiaryQualitative researchers choose diary methods for many good reasons. When participants record their observations or perceptions in the moment, we learn something different about their experiences than might be gained from other methods. Sometimes private reflections are more candid, and participants might feel more able to express themselves in a diary than in an interview.

Of course, diary methods are predicated on the participant’s willingness to follow through. Expecting someone to take the time to write, in a time frame the researcher determines, can be problematic. Modern diary researchers are using a variety of approaches to overcome such obstacles, including using apps and technologies, or combining creative and written methods.

Here are a few open access articles that illustrate the potential for diary methods.

New thinking on traditional diary methods:

Diary methods with apps or other digital tools:

Multimodal studies that include diary methods:

Want to learn more about how to design studies that use diary methods? Here is a Diary Methods Reading List, with links to e-books, articles, cases, and videos. Find them on SAGE Research Methods. No library access? Explore SAGE Research Methods with a free trial.


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