Experience sampling is a systematic way of having participants provide samples of their ongoing behavior.
Participants' reports are dependent (contingent) upon either a signal, pre-established intervals, or the ocurrence of some event.
The participant is signaled with a beeper, cell phone call, or programmed watch at random times within a fixed time period (e.g., between 8 AM and 9 PM). At the signal, the participant records the behavior of interest (e.g., activity, location, mood, thoughts).
Example: The focus of this study(1) was home activity and school performance of Latino children. Researchers randomly selected eight 10 and 11-year olds from an ongoing longitudinal study. The children were paged randomly within a time block of 4 PM-6 PM on Monday to Saturday for 12 weeks. About 3 calls a day were made. The children received $.50 for each returned call. The fieldworker (on the phone) asked "What were you doing when the pager went off?" along with a few follow-up questions. The accumulated responses were subsequently coded into more general activity categories.
Participant is assigned pre-set intervals for reporting events. For example, before going to bed at night, the participant fills out a checklist of the day's activities.
The event is determined by the research project, for example, migraine headache, or phoning a friend. The participant makes a record whenever the key event occurs. The recording of the event depends upon (is contingent) on its occurrence.
Advantages and disadvantages
On to summary
|(1)||Weisner, R., Ryan, G. W., Reese, L., Kroesen, K, Bernheimer, L, & Gallimore, R. (2001). Behavior sampling and ethnography: Complementary methods for understanding home-school connections among Latino immigrant families. Field Methods, 13(1), 20-46.|