Week 5: Researching Media in Everyday Life

by

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

This week’s readings focus on the use of diaries as a research tool. The reading explains there are many strengths and advantages for using a diary. Many of us are familiar with having kept a diary at some point in our lives to record our thoughts, but using diaries as an effective researching tool was a new idea to me. As shown by this, diaries are fantastic for ‘telling history’ s they capture our ‘behaviour’ and  daily ‘events’.

A diary can be used as a ‘supplement’ to complement interviews and have been very useful in the assignment I am currently working on.  The diary can be formatted in a free way or ‘fairly structured’. This reading specifies that there are some main areas which they have been used for research: ‘To record how people spend their time, consumer expenditure and transport planning research’.

Diaries as seen in the readings are a fantastic survey tool. Structured diaries follow a formula which enables consistency which can be great for keeping research in an organised format, utilising a type of style guide and certain specifications such as controlling length, size, content and format. The article stated that diaries are not always effective and can have problems including if someone forgets the event which happen during the day and simply make them up which can cause inaccuracies. Diaries are considered to be ‘more expensive that personal interviews’.

Questions this article raises to me are: What other ways can we document media use? And are structured diaries more useful than free form types?

Sarah

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