Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.
Jun 8

Summer School 2023: Diary Methods in the Social Sciences

June 8 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

Led by Dr Miriam Snellgrove

It has long been recognised that diary methods are excellent for capturing people’s daily lived experiences (Bartlett and Milligan, 2020). Diary methods are particularly good at bypassing researcher/researched power relations as the power to document and what to document lies with the participant and not with the researcher. In this way, participants feel empowered to share thoughts, ideas and challenges that might often not be shared so readily in other research contexts (interviews/focus groups) (Busby, 2000). Elliot (1997) points out that around sensitive topics (health and illness for example), participants have the freedom and control to edit, share and discard their diary writings as and when they want. Critics (Savage, 2007) point out that the method assumes a level of literacy in the chosen population and can therefore exclude important social groups. Despite this, diary methods are valuable at exploring everyday lives, particularly during the pandemic (Snellgrove and Punch, 2022).

This workshop will introduce students to diary methods through two key approaches. First, students will read and analyse a series of diary excerpts collected during the pandemic. Secondly, students will then analyse their own diary entries. Through these activities, students will have direct experience of working with diary data and the appropriateness of using such methods for future and ongoing research work.

Preparatory work:

Prior to attending the workshop, students are asked to read the diary entries provided. Students are also expected to produce a diary entry (in whatever form they like – textual, oral, visual) on their everyday life during the pandemic. Please be prepared to share the diary entry with other students.

Bartlett, R. and Milligan, C. (2020) Diary Method, London: Bloomsbury.
Busby, H. (2000) Writing about Health and Sickness: An Analysis of Contemporary Autobiographical Writing from
the British Mass-Observation Archive, Sociological Research Online 5 (2).
Elliot, H. (1997) The use of diaries in Sociological Research on Health Experience, Sociological Research Online 2
(2). https://doi.org/10.5153%2Fsro.38
Livholts, M. (2019) Situated Writing as Theory and Method, London: Routledge.
Snellgrove, M.L and Punch, S. (2023) Bridge during a time of Disruption: Pandemic Playing, Everyday Habits and
Situated Writing In: Finkel, R., Sharp, B. (eds) Leisure in the Pandemic: Reimagining Interaction and Activity during
Crisis London: Routledge


Register for Summer School here!


June 8
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Event Categories:


John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh
Pollock Halls, 18 Holyrood Park Road
Edinburgh, EH16 5AY
+ Google Map