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Understanding Your Users, 2nd Edition by Kelly Caine, Catherine Courage, Kathy Baxter

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Chapter 8

Diary Studies

Abstract

Diary studies are one way to collect in situ, longitudinal data over a large sample. They “provide a record of an ­ever-changing present” of the participant’s internal and external experiences in his or her own words. This allows you to understand the user’s experience as seen through his or her eyes, as described in his or her vernacular at the moment of occurrence. The diary can be unstructured, providing no specified format, allowing participants to describe their experience in the way they find best (or easiest). More often though, diaries are structured, providing participants with a set of questions or probes to respond to. The beauty of diaries is that they can provide both rich qualitative and quantitative ...

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