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Bugs, Beeps, Blips.

Using experience sampling methods with young people.

The experience sampling method (ESM) is designed to capture people’s in-the-moment experiences in their everyday lives. In computerized ESM designs, participants are usually “beeped” (i.e. notification by text or app) several times per day for at least one week, and usually longer, sometimes at spaced timepoints across several months. Participants are also asked to complete questionnaires about what they are thinking, feeling and experiencing in that moment, or in the short time before they complete it (for example, over the past 30 minutes). Participant responses are then used to construct descriptions about their mood, behaviour attitudes and intentions, and behavioural scientists then study these for patterns and associations, and may then relate them to other measures taken, for example measures of depression, aggression or anxiety. ESM measures may be combined with biological sampling, for example by asking participants to self-collect saliva, or obtain measures of temperature, or by combining it with other recordings, of physical activity, sleep and heart rate collected by wearable devices. Some ESM research uses electronic recordings of the ambient sounds of the person’s life, and codes these audio clips for content, including coding for location, environmental stress, participants mood and social interactions. Concerns about invasiveness (being 'bugged'), privacy and burden on participants have been flagged, with some researchers noting that these may vary by age cohort or developmental stage, that is, some age groups may be very accepting and others may be more likely to record missing data (data 'blips') or drop out of the study.

 

This project will develop strategies to maximise data collection and richness using ESM/ecological momentary assessment designs, and will explore the experience and engagement by the people who participate in research studies using ecological momentary assessments.