All You Need to Know About Online Diary Studies

Annette Smith

Pitch It: The Business Case for Customer Salience

As insight experts, we understand the power of insights, their inherent value in key decision-making...


Emily James

    Online diary studies are great for capturing experiences with products and services and for taking a more continuous look at consumers in their everyday lives. Doing your diary study online allows you to have a more longitudinal and interactive relationship during the research with your participants.

    The principle is simple, yet powerful - participants keep a diary of their activities, tasks, experiences and thoughts. In return, researchers get a window into participants' lives, their life-styles, habits, thoughts, experiences and opinions.

    Thanks to FlexMR you have an all in one approach for your research and for participants to take part in your diary study. It's easy, engaging and you can have the best of both worlds.

    Best Practices for Online Diary Studies

    • Structured diary tasks. These are easy to fill in by participants and deliver concise feedback.
    • Give clear instructions as to what you expect of your participants, set helpful deadlines and reminders where and when needed
    • Use different question types (single/multiple choice, scales, verbatim ...) to draw up a structured task
    • Include media & stimuli to make it relevant and engaging
    • Run your tasks as a one-off task or pre-program to repeat in defined sequences
    • Let participants share media to their heart's content, e.g. images or screenshots, videos or vox-pops
    • Question and probe as and when needed

    Benefits of Online Diary Studies

    • Open, free-form journal for participants to tell you all about their thoughts, motivations, frustrations, likes, dislikes and experiences.
    • Benefit from this creative space for participants
    • Make it individual or collaborative, with tailored comment functionality
    • Built in media upload features for great sharing & galleries
    • Get involved and question and probe for further feedback

    Being able to combine the structured and free-form, open feedback allows you to collect organic, in-situ feedback from your participants, covering great depth, detail and focus, including any media and examples they share and upload as part of the diary study.

    Diary studies truly open a window into people's lives. This is helped by the highly customisable FlexMR diary studies that can be set up to your specifications (e.g. collaborative vs. individual), including mobile. So, next time you are looking to review or test a product or service or you'd like to follow customer's lives and understand e.g. their purchase motivations and decisions, life-style and habits, then an online diary study could be just the right method.

    To book a free trial of the FlexMR research platform and make use of our wide range of quant & qual tools, click here. Or, click here to read more about the flexible management levels we can provide.

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