Reflective research methods are used by both researchers and participants to record events and experiences and their meanings. Research participants are asked to reflect on particular questions over a longer period of time, often providing them with tools to capture these reflections. This is particularly useful for topics that unfold over time, where the researcher cannot be present for the whole duration. Ethnographic researchers also use reflective methods to think about how they themselves experience the research process and how that might introduce biases.
Also known as Journals
This method involves written observations kept by researchers to record detailed notes during or immediately following participant- observations in the field. These can be supplemented by photography and/or video.
Also known as Diary Studies or self-documentation Studies
These are used to collect data about participants’ behaviors, activities, and experiences. This data is self-reported by participants longitudinally over an extended period ranging from a few days to a month or even longer. Diaries can be used as memory aids during interviews or data analysis or can become research artifacts in themselves.
Also known as Cultural Probes
This method is used when research participants are given kits for self-documentation of meaningful thoughts, events, experiences, places, people, etc., using various materials or forms (e.g. journals, diaries, annotated maps, disposable cameras, photos, etc.). Participants use these in their own time to record events or experiences in visual or written ways, generating exploratory insight into their cultural contexts and subjective experiences.