1st Edition

Exploring Diary Methods in Higher Education Research Opportunities, Choices and Challenges

Edited By Xuemeng Cao, Emily F. Henderson Copyright 2021
    222 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This methodologically oriented collection brings together higher education diary research studies from international contexts to showcase the versatility of the method and its adaptability to higher education research.

    While keeping a diary is a familiar personal practice, diary method is a neglected form of research in higher education studies as well as the social sciences more broadly. This book showcases the range of options within diary method, as well as the benefits and challenges that this fascinating but mysterious method may bring to students and academic researchers alike. The benefits and the risks and challenges of diary research are discussed across the empirical studies included in the volume. Using a variety of solicited diary techniques, including audio, written and photo diaries, and focusing on different aspects of higher education including undergraduate and postgraduate students and academics, these studies include salient topics such as:

    • LGBTQ identities,
    • faith,
    • caring responsibilities,
    • international students,
    • socioeconomically disadvantaged students and
    • employability.

    This important contribution to methodological innovation in the higher education research field promotes diary method as a viable option in social sciences and beyond. Whether new to the method or a seasoned diary researcher, this book is ideal reading for anyone who would like to learn the fundamentals of diary research and explore its feasibility in empirical contexts.

    Section 1 Critically designing and evaluating diary studies

    1. Using diaries in mixed methods designs: Lessons from a cross-institutional research project on doctoral students’ social transition experiences
    Jenna Mittelmeier, Bart Rienties, Kate Yue Zhang and Divya Jindal-Snape

    2. How short is too short? Exploring diary study duration from the perspective of researching conferences and other short-term phenomena in higher education and beyond
    Emily F. Henderson

    3. Audio Diaries: A creative research method for higher education studies in the digital age
    Dangeni, Dely Elliot and Carole Macdiarmid

    4. Broadening the normative and evaluative space for assessing the impact of photo diary research in higher education: a capabilities approach
    Mikateko Mathebula; Carmen Martinez-Vargas

    Section 2 Exploring the nuances of the diary research process

    5. Researcher-participant ‘win-win’ in diary research: participant recruitment and retention in a longitudinal diary-interview study on employability management
    Xuemeng Cao

    6. "I’m not really sure why I took that!": Exploring the forms of diarying present in the participant-generated photo-elicitation method
    Michael Keenan

    7. Reactivity, rationality, emotion and self-protection: Critical reflections on the use and potential of diaries in research on higher education choice and decision-making
    Zoe Baker

    8. Telling their own story in their own way: negotiating the ethics of a diary-like photo-elicitation method to capture faith and belief from students’ own starting point
    Sarah Lawther

    Section 3 The importance of diaries for researching hidden issues

    9. Accessing silenced voices? Diary method as a source of data for understanding higher education experiences of students from socially excluded groups in India
    Nidhi S Sabharwal, Roma Smart Joseph, Anil Chindha Bankar and Avinash Vasantrao Talmale

    10. Using photo diaries as an inclusive method to explore information experiences in Higher Education
    Ben Watson and Jennifer Leigh,

    11. Closer to the feeling? Diary-interview method and higher education research on affective phenomena
    James Burford

    12. The diary method and its power to record the routine and forgettable in the language lives of international students
    Olivia Groves



    Xuemeng Cao is an Early Career Fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study and the Department of Education Studies, at the University of Warwick, UK.

    Emily F. Henderson is Associate Professor in the Department of Education Studies, at the University of Warwick, UK.