Diary studies can offer a rich, unique view into a participant’s life over time. No longer confined to paper and pen, digital diary studies have become possible as more people have access to and use smartphones. As researchers look to expand their remote research methods, they’re a way to get deeper insight into the lives of those you care about from afar.
But running a diary study, even a digital one, takes work. From finding the right participants to designing your questions for the medium, setting up a digital diary study can be intimidating. That’s why we made this quick how-to guide based on the top questions we’ve seen and included a few of our own studies. Read down below to get your diary study up and running!
Design the participant experience
Your participants are everything, so make sure to set them up for success.
- Decide on the right number of participants
- What, how and when to pay your participants
- Setup and onboard your participants
Create a diary study research plan
Don't fall into the survey trap—diary studies aren't meant to be surveys delivered by text. Here's how to simplify your plan and unlock deeper insights.
- Write clear and achievable assignments
- Choose which type of media for your assignments
- When and how to run a texting-only diary study
- Get better responses from your assignments
Manage your diary study effectively
Sample diary study plans
Sometimes, it's easier to see a whole plan to help imagine what your diary study can do. Here are three we've run during the pandemic.
- Life during COVID-19 diary study
- Family life during COVID-19 diary study
- Young professionals COVID-19 diary study
Invest the time in planning and organizing your study, and you’ll be rewarded with rich, thoughtful responses from your participants. A digital diary study takes work, but the insights you'll get are worth it!
Want more inspiration on remote research? Check out our co-founders article on remote research methods here.