Nutrition profile


Take a deep look at the user experience over time by asking participants to capture their activities through words, photos, and/or videos.

Cooking time


A few days to a few months.

Well-structured diary studies last for an extended period of time in order to capture the entirety of a user journey. Participants might log their activities for up to a few months, depending on the scope of the research. Since you'll be gathering a lot of qualitative data, you should expect analysis to take awhile, too.

Perfect for


Understanding how users interact with a service or product over time. Participants can log their behavior and activities, allowing you to learn more about their habits, decision making, technology use, emotional states, and more. Diary studies can be especially helpful if you are trying to understand or evaluate the user experience across channels, time, and space. They also have the benefit of providing you with both behavioral data (what people do) and attitudinal data (what people think).

Examples of helpful diary studies and their time frames within a college setting could be:

Prep work


As with all research studies, you'll want to define your focus, scope, and research questions. It can be easy to succumb to scope creep, especially with longer diary studies, so be thoughtful about defining what information is directly relevant to your research.

Based on your scope and research questions, establish a timeline for your study.

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