Diary studies are a longitudinal research method that involves having participants record and share specific experiences with researchers over a set period of time. Traditionally, diary studies were conducted via pen and paper, but today, diary study software is used more heavily due to the efficiencies it offers.
What is Diary Study Software
Diary study software replaces pen-and-paper data collection with smartphones and streamlines the research process for companies that use WhatsApp, Google Drive, and multiple tools. Leveraging purpose-built diary study software offers more versatile data collection, as it allows participants to capture their experiences more thoroughly through:
- Audio recordings
- Mobile screen recordings
- Open text responses
- Quantitative tasks like single-choice, multiple-choice, and scale questions
This digital approach delivers richer data and a more complete picture of the experiences being studied since videos and images supply peripheral data not explicitly mentioned by the participants. Since diary study software is mostly smartphone-driven, researchers are able to capture experiences as they happen, as opposed to having participants record their thoughts in hindsight. The closer researchers are able to get to the moments they’re studying, the more powerful the resulting insights are, as fewer details are lost from memory.
Benefits of Using Diary Study Software
There are several benefits of using diary study software. The following are some of the most notable:
1. Easier Project Management
Using pen and paper or multiple tools makes managing diary studies a challenge. Diary study software has built-in project management features that make it easier to ensure a study runs smoothly. Researchers can track participant progress and send reminders to make sure the study ends on time, and all the necessary data has been collected.
2. Improved Data Quality
Researchers are able to improve their understanding of participant experiences with information gathered from online diary studies. The data is collected closer to the moments researchers are studying and in a way that seamlessly fits into the everyday lives of participants. Since participants are already using their phones to take pictures, videos and chat with friends – it’s a natural medium for capturing experiences.
3. Faster Results
With diary study software, researchers can rapidly unearth actionable insights. Data can be analyzed while the project is still in-field, decreasing the timeline needed for analysis. As soon as a participant submits an entry, it hits a dashboard in real-time, allowing researchers to get a head start.