Details of Publication 250 for Project W048:

Soupourmas F, Ironmonger D, Brown P & Warner-Smith P. Testing the practicality of a Personal Digital Assistant Questionnaire versus a Beeper and Booklet Questionnaire in a random-time experience sampling method context. Annals of Leisure Research, 2005; 8(2): 142-152

The Random-Time Experience-Sampling (RTESM) Method has been used to examine people’s subjective experience of time in particular activity contexts as they are experiencing particular events at random times throughout the day. The method involves a signalling device that cues respondents (at random intervals) to evaluate and report their activities for up to 70 moments of time during a week. While many empirical studies have used electronic pagers or ‘beepers’ to signal respondents, advances in information technologies have led to the increasing use of computerised platforms in Experience Sampling Method (ESM) research. This paper reports on a pilot study to examine respondent reactions and ability to complete a time use survey using two different reporting methods. Each respondent was asked to complete a time diary at random times of the day using: 1. a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) (for three days); and 2. a Beeper and Booklet (B&B) (for four days). PDAs are handheld computers. The researchers loaded the PDAs with specialised survey software for participants to electronically report time use experiences in response to signals from the PDA. The B&B method required respondents to report their time use experiences in a survey booklet when signalled at random times by a purpose-built electronic beeper. Based on positive respondent feedback on the merits of the PDA platform and the ability to download responses directly from the PDAs, a full-scale RTES study of parents in dual-earner households will use this method to gather data about work-life tensions, leisure and well being in future years.