Diary Studies

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Description of the method

Diary studies span over an extended period of time, typically days or weeks but can be months long. Data is self reported by participants in the form of diary entries that can be text, images, videos or audio recordings. These diary entries are a record of their behaviors, experiences and attitudes of the research subject. 

Diary studies provide the opportunity to learn a broad amount around habits, usage, attitudes, motivations and more. For instance a bank may ask customers to record all financial interactions over the course of a week to understand how banking products are used and fit into daily life. 

NOTE: We don't support this method on our platform just yet, but stay tuned!

When the method should be used

Diary studies are used at the beginning of product discovery to understand the context of a problem space. They are especially powerful in understanding the context of products and services that have multiple applications and potential uses. They can also be used once a product or service is live to evaluate real-world usage.

What Great Questions can you answer?

When, where and when will people likely use the product?

What will be the trigger for people using the product?

How will users change their usage patterns over time?

Strengths of the method

Generate frequent and real world data usage

Observe how people's attitudes and experiences change over time

Depth of insight can be captured through mixed media

Disadvantages of the method

Time intensive to plan effectively and ensure participants are actively recording data

Participants self report rather than having a researcher observe behavior

Lots of data can be generated which can be complex and lengthy to analyze

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