A diary study collects information from participants by having them repeatedly record their thoughts about a specific activity or experience over a period of time, which may vary from a few days to a few months. This method is often used to get highly contextual information to assess attitudes, behaviors, and/or motivations. Diary studies are great at reporting the “why” of the documented experience and, because of the longitudinal nature, you also see how and why this experience can change.
- Diary Studies: Understanding Long-Term User Behavior and Experiences
Read this for a overview of when using a diary study is useful, a explanation of the methodology, and a few helpful tips.
- Peaking into your participants lives with a diary study
A primer on diary studies with walkthrough of an example.
- Dear Diary: Using Diaries to Study User Experience
This article is a great example of how to use a diary study to document an experience through the different times/phases a person experiences.
- How we ran a diary study from within our product
I love this article — it’s a good step-by-step case study of how to run a diary study and some tools you may already use.
- Running mobile diary studies via SMS
Traditionally, diary studies are a pretty manual process, involving pre-made sets of journals and physical photographs. This article uses text messaging as a way to bypass old processes.
- Use a Diary Study to Extend Your UX Research
This article is a great overview of diary studies and includes a wonderful ~3 minute video.