Diary Study

Collect deep insights by asking users or employees to track and observe their behaviours over time

applied for



Service Staff



also called

Cultural Probes

what is it

The diary study is a research method inspired by cultural probes, in which participants are asked to monitor and report specific data over a defined period of time. The diary can be analog or digital, request to simply log specific information or even take photos and videos. It could help with remote research, and facilitate self-reflection prior to an in-depth interview.

use it to

Analyse repetitive actions and daily behaviours, things we don’t pay attention to.

remember to

Keep participants motivated by assigning one mission-at-a-time and let them play with it.


(2015) Baxter, Kathy & Courage, Chatherine & Caine, Kelly. Diary Studies.

(2012) Goodman, E & Kuniavsky, M & Moed, A. Observing the User Experience, Second Edition: A Practitioner's Guide to User Research. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc.

case studies


feature image of 'Researching food habits in the Netherlands' case study

Example by More than Metrics

Researching food habits in the Netherlands

Using mobile ethnography to explore different perspectives on health and sustainability


This case shows how diverse private and governmental parties worked together in order to better understand the perspectives of Dutch people on health and sustainability of food. How to best encourage people to eat more sustainable food? Although most people in the Netherlands are aware of the importance of a healthy diet, many have difficulties getting their heads around the relatively new concept of ‘sustainable food’. Sustainability is often associated with packaging and energy usage, rather than with attributes of the food itself. In this age of accelerating climate change and a fast growing global population, it is important that people more frequently opt for plant-based food, rather than meat and dairy. Encouraging this awareness and change of behavior is a challenge policy makers and sustainability experts are facing.

what is interesting

Through the mobile ethnography study the research team managed to gather rich data and personal insights into people’s behavior towards food. The main insight for the team was that there is a gap between knowledge on healthy and sustainable food and their willingness to change their food consumption.

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