Many research methods give us a still shot of events at a given point in time. Sometimes we need to gather information that resembles a ‘video’, i.e. information that may give us an overview of events over time. In other situations, having researchers on site is ill-advised or just impossible. Diary studies stand out as a solution for some of these problems and a source of very rich data.
Diaries are prepared for each particular case and handed in to participants, who are asked to keep them for a certain period of time. Participants are asked to fill in the diaries, and sometimes perform some tasks and make notes, at given points in time, while engaging in certain activities or while being in given spaces.