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October 1, 2017

Lean diary study

Set up short and focused missions to gain better participation and results
Starting point

Diary studies are extremely helpful to observe behaviours over time and establish a contact with users prior to individual interviews. At the same time, filling a diary for multiple days often requires a high level of commitment, and the engagement can easily drop after a few entries affecting the outcomes of the overall study. How can we design diary studies that don't overwhelm research participants and keep them motivated for the entire duration of the activity?

Structure and missions for the beauty diary - State of The Beauty research project
What we did

Digital diaries give the opportunity to better design the activity by splitting the general task into smaller and more clear missions. The researcher would distribute one call to action at-a-time (every one or two days) and wait to collect all the data entries before sending the following mission. Apps like Dscout allow to easily tweak the diary format as needed, distribute the missions across a network of participants and centralize the collection of all the results (video, audio, photo, text,..) in a single place.

Why it is valuable

Digital diaries give the opportunity to better design the activity by splitting the general task into smaller and more clear missions. The researcher would distribute one call to action at-a-time (every one or two days) and wait to collect all the data entries before sending the following mission. Apps like Dscout allow to easily tweak the diary format as needed, distribute the missions across a network of participants and centralize the collection of all the results (video, audio, photo, text,..) in a single place.

takeaway

Even if setting up a diary with a service like Dscout makes many tasks automatic, there are still parts of the process that need to be taken care of manually. A quick (5 minutes) phone call to each participant before the activity starts helps creating a connection and understanding their doubts or requests; reaching out at the end of the study is an important way to express appretiation and close the loop as well.

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