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Advice on diary study

It is likely that I will do a diary study of bike riders' experiences on the bus system (specifically to find out where and what proportion of the time they find the bike rack full and can't board), and I'd appreciate your advice on making this work. I've not worked for Nielsen, but believe there must be methods of encouraging thorough recording and encouraging completion of the diary.

My current concept is to distribute weekly diary forms (both paper and by email) to members of bike rider organizations and to the Metropolitan Planning Organizations's email list of bike riders. Ask them to log all their bus rides with a bike, and then we will map the boarding / alighting locations, routes, times where they have this problem.

Yes, this will be a volunteer sample, not equal probability of selection.
And the squeaky wheel will get the grease. Problem right now is, we are fairly sure it needs grease but we don't know how much or where it's dry.

Bike riders are a very low incidence group ( less than1% of ridership) and the cost to gather this information on a large number of boardingand alighting experiences using a questionnaire or an interview administered at the stop would be prohibitive.

Advice on diary study

It very Intersting one Actually A diary study involves asking a number of people to record their experiences related to a particular subject over a period of time. It is a useful to help learn about user behaviour as it provides a record of thoughts and actions in context. Diary studies aren't always the right choice but if you were studying the use of mobile devices for instance, it is particularly challenging due to their location-independent nature so diary studies are well suited. Field studies are another option but often prove to be too impractical, particularly for a service or product that is used all day. Lab based tests can give good insight but for some areas of interest, just won't give the real world accuracy.