Week 5 – Researching Media in Everyday Life


Corti, L. “Using Diaries in Social Research.” Available at http://sru.soc,surrey.ac.uk/sru2.html

 According to Corti “….diaries are used as research instruments to collect detailed information about behaviour, events and other aspects of individuals’ daily lives”. As a research method they have many advantages in that they:

  • provide a reliable alternative to the interview method and a way of recording facts that may be easily forgotten.
  • can allow sensitive/personal information to be collected more easily.
  • can be used to supplement the information collected from an interview (the ‘diaryÐdiary interview method’).

 I found Corti’s article on “Using Diaries in Social Research” very helpful when planning my Diary of Media Use for Assessment 2: Media and Everyday Research Proposal. I agree with Natalie that the main argument within this article is the need to develop a definite structure when undertaking social research. I tried to utilise Corti’s guidelines when planning my diary. I created a small booklet and provided my subject with clear instructions on when, where and how to record information. The diary itself was drawn up in a neat table with columns to record media, location, length of time and content. At this stage I’m considering using the ‘diaryÐdiary interview method’ as part of my further research for this assignment i.e. interviewing my subject in addition to using the diary information.

 Corti’s article also included factors to consider when analysing the data collected from diaries. For instance, she discusses the fact that ‘reporting errors’ can occur as a result of research participants enthusiastically recording information in the first few days (‘first day effects’) but then become less detailed in their responses later in the process. Some may even resort to keeping ‘tomorrow diaries’ in which the information is filled out at a later date. It will be important to keep this in mind when analysing the information collected in the media diary.


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