With diaries we immerse into the lives of the target group.

What we do?


Be there when things happen. With diaries we immerse into the lives of the target group over a longer time.


Some things are hard to be remembered when asked for, e.g., minor annoyances and pain points. With a diary, participants write them down when they occur. Representatives of the target group document their daily experiences about specific topics in an online diary, using text, photos, videos and voice messages. We accompany them in this process (lasting one or more weeks) and get feedback on their experiences. 


What are typical questions?


• What are the habits of the target group?

• What are the usage scenarios for a product?

• Which problems are encountered in everyday technology use?

• Which devices are used for which occasion?

• What changes can be observed over a longer period?


How does it help?


Conducting basic research for (new) product developments:

• Understand customer behaviour in a real context and over a longer period

• Get insight into product resonance and acceptance for new products whose value is hard to explain or understand in a short time frame


• Valuable information about the behavior and experiences

of the users in real life

• Organic and contextual behavioral insights and patterns

• Longer-term collection and therefore more valid data than one-off observations


What are the limitations?


• Given the qualitative nature of the method, results are rather a collection of topics and not representative. 

Key Infos

When to use?

When there isn’t enough information about the target group’s behaviour available, especially when we deal with new topics and products. 

Combine with

Follow-up interviews

Variants and options

Time sampling: Participants report what happened in a given time frame. Event sampling: Participants tell us whenever something relevant happened. You can also set different topics of self-observation for each day.


What can be tested with diary studies?

Typically, diary studies are used to document habits and analyze the daily behavior of users. Topics can be considered in general (e.g., shopping behavior or sports behavior in general), or one can focus on specific applications (e.g., shopping behavior on Amazon or use of sports apps).

How long does a diary study take?

A diary study does not have a limit. It can last from several days to several months. The key is that the respective subject area can be sufficiently observed. Many of our diary studies, e.g. on the topic of shopping behavior, have a survey phase of 2 - 4 weeks.

How many people should be interviewed in a diary study?

As a rule, we conduct a diary study with 20 to 40 test subjects. This is sufficient to describe qualitative insights, formulate implications and at the same time guarantee efficient feasibility. If your target group consists of several clearly definable subgroups, we recommend 6 - 8 participants per subgroup. Especially in diary studies, it is important to ensure a sufficiently large buffer, since participants drop out more often than in other studies due to the longer duration of the project.

Michael Wörmann

Managing Partner

+49 89 2050 5560 

m.woermann (AT) house-of-communication.com