Diary studies are a proven method for capturing the habits of your users over a longer period of time compared to in-lab studies. A diary study is a form of qualitative research that allows participants to self-report their activities, feelings, and thoughts over a period of time. Diary studies have a data collection period as short as 2-3 days to 30 days; there are outliers of course (such as studying the usage of medical products over time). In the past few years, we’ve seen an uptick in diary studies being used to help understand the end-to-end customer journey (from awareness to advocacy).
New tools are available that make it easy for participants to record their daily lives and for you as a researcher to monitor and analyze their entries. While diary studies are relatively straightforward to implement, there are important steps that should be taken to ensure that you are getting the most insightful entries from your participants. Here are methods for running a successful diary study.