How to create a simple diary study

silviabradatsch edited this page Sep 25, 2015 · 10 revisions

How to... ...create a simple diary study

In a diary study participants are requested to complete a questionnaire several times or even regularly, e.g. every day for a month. Therefore, it is crucial to create a loop in the run so that participants jump back to the actual survey whenever a specific condition is fulfilled. Moreover, you probably want to send reminder emails to your participants to ensure their regular participation.

In the following examaple you want participants to complete a daily mood questionnaire for a whole week. Such a simple diary study can be structured in the following way:


Before the actual diary study begins, you can inquire personal information and participants' email adresses.This questionnaire appears only once.


The pause ensures that participants can only complete the survey when a specific time of the day is reached (e.g. 6pm). Before that time the survey is not accessible.


At 6 pm an email invitation with the link to the study is sent. Participants are now asked to complete the survey.


(Adding a Skip Forward here has some advantages which will be discussed in the section below)


When participants follow the link the actual survey called “diary” containing your diary questions is now accessible.


With the aid of a Skip Backward participants jump back to the pause (position 2) after they completed the survey.


A Stop point indicates the end of your diary study. Participants only arrive here when the survey was completed as often as requested, i.e. 7 days in a row.

Further explanations: Starting at 1, participants would complete the short questionnaire about personal information. They could do that whenever they follow the link, but thereafter they would have to wait until 6pm before the real diary survey is accessible. (At 6pm participants would also receive an invitation/ a reminder email.) After the completion, the Skip Backward would send the participants back to the pause, where you could thank them and give the instruction to close their web browser. Once it is 6pm again, participants would automatically receive another invitation and complete the diary again and so on. Once this cycle was repeated 7 times, the study is over.

Adding a Skip Forward: Adding a Skip Forward to the run can be really beneficial in some cases: In the preceding run the diary survey is accessible after 6pm which also includes 11 pm, 3am or 5 pm. That means, when the participant does not react, i.e., complete the survey in the evening, the diary stays accessible during the whole day and thereafter. A Skip Forward alows to integrate a further condition: If the participant reacts within 7 hours, which means he or she follows the link, everything goes on as described above. If the participant does not react the Skip Forward skips the diary survey and jumps directly to the Skip Backward and consequently to the pause. Thus the next diary will only be accessible after 6pm.

You can combine the present example of a diary study with further elements, such as a personalized feedback for participants or additional conditions.

Some Screenshots of the run for a diary study:




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