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Building the methodological foundation for experience sampling method research

More and more mental health research is moving out of the lab and into people’s daily lives. One popular way of investigating people in their daily lives is the experience sampling method (ESM). In an ESM study, researchers give individuals short questionnaires about their daily experiences on a smartphone, multiple times per day and over several days. Even though many mental health researchers are using ESM, basic questions surrounding the design of ESM studies remain unanswered. For example, it is unclear how an ESM study should be set up and what questions can best be used. We also do not understand how these choices depend on the type of people that are being studied. This lack of methodological research makes it difficult to evaluate and compare results from ESM studies. In the proposed project, we will investigate how the number of ESM questionnaires per day influences the information collected across different groups of individuals, namely adolescents and vulnerable young adults. Next, we will find out how participants can best be paid to collect as much daily-life data as possible. Then we will test how well existing ESM questions allow us to measure daily life in different groups of people. Based on these studies, we will develop guidelines for researchers who want to design better ESM studies in the future. In the long run, our research will help to improve the quality of mental health research.

Date:5 Sep 2023 →  Today
Keywords:experience sampling method, measurement, clinical populations, study design
Disciplines:Other psychology and cognitive sciences not elsewhere classified, Psychopathology
Project type:PhD project