Time Diary Design for Measuring the Risks Associated with Lifestyles

Publication type

Conference Paper


ESRC Research Methods Festival


Publication date

July 3, 2004


Researchers have made extensive use of time diary data for research into a number of topics, including:

* Monitoring the division of domestic labour
* Time children and parents spend together
* Measuring & valuing unpaid economic activity
* Measuring consumption of goods
* Time spent using ICTs
* Time spent travelling and means of travel
* Changes in social & leisure activities
* Measuring work-life balance and the impact of paid work patterns on lifestyle.

As diary data cover the range of daily activities, however, diaries have the potential to contribute to research into a much wider range of issues. Various forms of risk assessment have gained increasing policy relevance, but the application of diary research to such investigation thus far has been limited. This presentation investigates three broad areas in which diary data can contribute to risk assessment:

* monitoring exposure
* monitoring physical activities and the risk of obesity, and
* monitoring the patterns of social interaction of groups at risk of social exclusion.

For each of these three topics, this presentation:

* Details how diary data may contribute to research
* Briefly profiles current research
* Notes the limitations of diaries for investigating such topics, and
* Briefly highlights future possibilities for using diary data.

This presentation highlights to significant potential of time use data to contribute to policy research.



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