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A diary is a research instrument for collecting information about people’s daily practices and experiences. It can be defined as a document in which a person records certain activities, events, interactions, thoughts, or feelings during a specified period. Diaries have long been used in research that seeks to examine exposure to media, audience behavior, or media experiences. They are also used to deliver regular ratings for media industries. This entry describes different forms of research diaries, discusses advantages and limits of diary surveys, and finally, provides examples of how they are used in media research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE international encyclopedia of mass media and society
EditorsDebra L. Merskin
Place of PublicationLos Angeles, London, New Dehli, Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne
PublisherSage Publications
ISBN (Print)9781483375533
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • diaries
  • social sciences
  • methods
  • media research
  • communications research


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