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Dear Diary:  Practical Guide to Meaningful Respondent Journals
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Dear Diary: Practical Guide to Meaningful Respondent Journals


Having a respondent track a particular behavior, feeling or time of day can lend powerful insights into a client’s research question. But creating an outstanding diary or journal exercise is so much …

Having a respondent track a particular behavior, feeling or time of day can lend powerful insights into a client’s research question. But creating an outstanding diary or journal exercise is so much more than giving a respondent a blank notebook or URL and lots of white space in which to write or type. This presentation takes an in-depth look at how to get the most from diaries and journals by exploring issues such as:

Why and when to include a journal as part of a research study
Choosing a platform: comparing paper, online, and mobile options
Handwriting, drawing, typing, voice, photos, videos – which is right for a study?
Structuring the actual diary and best practices to solicit insightful entries
Dealing with timing, recruiting, logistics, and reporting
Drawing upon Abby’s experience having conducted journals or diaries with hundreds of participants, lasting from several days to several months, this session will leave attendees armed with tools and techniques to create great ‘Dear Diary’ adjuncts to their research.

These slides will be presented at the QRCA 2012 Conference in Montreal.

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  • 1. DearDiary:A practicalguide tocreatingmeaningfulrespondentjournals Abby Leafe New Leafe Research www.newleaferesearch.com 1
  • 2.  What is a diary? Which medium is best? Exercises to try Case studies 2
  • 3.  Respondent-generated Captures a defined activity, behavior or experience Over time 3
  • 4. Diary HomeworkDiaries can be given as ‘homework’ prior …but not everything you give asto another qualitative encounter… homework is a diary. 4
  • 5.  We can’t be with respondents all the time… …and we might not want to be! 5
  • 6.  Respondents might have trouble remembering Researchers might not be privy to Happen over an extended period of time 6
  • 7.  How is a product being used?  What product features are… Usage   Useful or important? Missing?  Misunderstood?  What pain points exist?  How do consumers execute a specific task/process? Process  What does the purchase decision look like in a particular category?  What is it like to _____?Experience  What types of messages/products/people are consumers exposed to? 7
  • 8. Usage Process Needs OpportunityExperience 8
  • 9.  “Just the facts, ma’am” More reflective and analytical A combination of the two 9
  • 10. “Just give it to me in amedium that works for me” 10
  • 11. 11
  • 12. Every medium hasadvantages anddrawbacks.Know which door to walkthrough. 12
  • 13.  Smaller budgets Creative assignments Low tech respondents Easy access to diaries during follow-up research 13
  • 14.  No researcher access during data collection Hassle factor – printing, shipping, collecting, scanning, etc. 14
  • 15. 15
  • 16. Detailed instructions are important. 16
  • 17. “Model” what you want with anexample, if appropriate. 17
  • 18. Use space to show how much youwant respondents to give you. Provide a place to go for help. 18
  • 19.  Paper can take the longest to set up and execute, especially if you want a facility or recruiter to distribute it. Consider whether you can enlist respondents to print it themselves. (Risky, but can save time, cost.) Do you want to collect it prior to in-person work?  Early collection allows you to analyze it in advance; make copies for client 19
  • 20.  Engaging clients Learning about respondents before they get in the room Pre-screening respondents for follow-up research 20
  • 21.  Not portable (although this is changing!) Can feel sterile – need to work to create warm environment May not be a fit for all respondent types Cost usually not free 21
  • 22.  www.newqualitative.com But also consider creative free solutions: blogging sites like Blogger, photo sharing sites like Flickr, etc. Evernote 22
  • 23.  Free is not always = practical For example – using a free photo site to share photos…  Issues around existing accounts, getting new ones  Multi-step process means you will lose some people  How to share with clients? 23
  • 24.  Many online bulletin boards are set up for threaded discussion – not what’s needed for a diary Some providers have a more robust “diary” functionality What do you want respondents to give you? Text, video, photos, all of the above? 24
  • 25. Look for the abilityto offer a “recurring activity” 25
  • 26.  Capturing data at the time it’s happening • Shopping • Travel • Dining out “Just the facts”-type information collection Smartphone users 26
  • 27.  Mobile vs. online is a false distinction Mobile capabilities can be integrated into many online research platforms Mobile can expand the number of daily interactions with respondents 27
  • 28.  Data entry can prohibit longer responses, more introspection Can’t use in all environments 28
  • 29.  All ‘mobile qual’ providers are not alike: What do you need?Respondents send in Mobile access to an A full-fledged app forvoice, photo, video online bulletin board smartphone usersentries to a central applicationrepository 29
  • 30. 30
  • 31.  Excel  Twitter Email  Photos Text/SMS  Pinterest Voice Video 31
  • 32. 32
  • 33.  Works great on paper Use a visual aid: easel paper, calendar, etc. Ask respondents to fill in activities relating to the topic at hand 33
  • 34. Sample Timeline 34
  • 35.  Lends itself well to storytelling  Vacations  Shopping  Purchase decision  Product usage  Etc. Captions are as important as pictures 35
  • 36. Photo Album idea 36
  • 37.  Goes beyond the basic ‘who, what, where, when, why” Can capture the emotion or feeling around a particular product or category 37
  • 38. Share at least 10 snippets of your “beer moments” over the next week, to be completed by Sunday, March 11th. CAPTURE THE MOMENT Create and send snippets when you actually have a beer. It can be beers you have at home or out on the town, just take ‘em and send ‘em as they happen. Don’t wait! We know you’re enjoying your beer but if you don’t send right away there’s a good chance you’ll forget what went into that choice later. JUST BE YOURSELF You’ve probably already had some good practice with posting party pics to Facebook! So don’t be shy, try to faithfully document what goes into “beer-time” for you. The more descriptive you are the more we’ll be able to learn about you and your beer preferences. MIX IT UP Get creative. Aim for a variety of photos to give us a well-rounded view of your experiences. It doesn’t always have to be a picture of a bottle. It can be a beer menu or have a friend get a shot of you with your drink! ALL ABOUT THE BEER We are focusing specifically on beer, not wine or liquor. It can be domestic, craft, cheap, expensive, hoppy, or malty, but just make sure you capture every beer.Thank you! dScout 38
  • 39.  Works with any polarity:  Yum/yuck  Best/worst  Good/bad  Etc. Forces respondents to think about what’s working and not working about a product or service 39
  • 40. As you go about your week, thinkabout the things that you dorelated to cash management thatare particularly easy or particularlyhard. They might be online, on • Task name (or photo of the task)your computer but not using theinternet, or on paper. As these • Describe what you’re doingthings happen, record them in thespace provided. • Easy or hard? • Why? 40
  • 41.  Helpful when clients want to understand consumer attitudes/ beliefs around a higher order benefit Works when respondents may find it hard to articulate what they really think Also great for ad development! 41
  • 42. Capture 5 snippets completing the sentence “Clean is…” in the title of your snippet. Think of it like a Mad Lib as it applies to how you think about cleanliness. Try to make sure each snippet captures a different aspect of cleanliness. WHAT makes you feel clean? HOW do you feel when you feel clean? WHEN do you feel the cleanest? Give us the full “clean” picture.Thank you! dScout 42
  • 43.  Can be a variant of a more basic journal (maybe 1 day of a longer diary) Ask respondents to ‘go without’ for the day and journal their experiences at set intervals Allow them a certain number of ‘cheats’ if possible – but they have to journal about the cheat(s) 43
  • 44. This week, you’ve told me all about yourcoffee moments (and I’ve enjoyed readingthem!). Today…I want you to go withoutcoffee for the day. So instead of telling meabout your coffee moments, tell me aboutyour “non-coffee moments”: those timeswhen you would have had coffee but didn’t. • What was happening at the time? • What did you have instead? • How did you feel during? Afterwards? 44
  • 45. Thank you!Revelation, 20/20, dScout 45
  • 46. 46
  • 47. Case studies will be included in the actual live presentation but are not included in this advance copy of the deck. 47
  • 48. Abby Leafe 215.497.4974abby@newleaferesearch.com 48