Handbook of Research Methods for Studying Daily Life

Edited by Matthias R. Mehl and Tamlin S. Conner
Foreword by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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October 20, 2011
ISBN 9781609187477
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Bringing together leading authorities, this unique handbook reviews the breadth of current approaches for studying how people think, feel, and behave in everyday environments, rather than in the laboratory. The volume thoroughly describes experience sampling methods, diary methods, physiological measures, and other self-report and non-self-report tools that allow for repeated, real-time measurement in natural settings. Practical guidance is provided to help the reader design a high-quality study, select and implement appropriate methods, and analyze the resulting data using cutting-edge statistical techniques. Applications across a wide range of psychological subfields and research areas are discussed in detail.

“Recommended. Upper-division graduates through faculty and professionals.”

Choice Reviews


“If you want to study life as it is lived—and do it by the numbers—then this volume is for you. This invaluable reference presents the latest theories, methods, and topics, and will provide inspiration and guidance for students and seasoned researchers alike. Mehl and Conner have assembled a team of experts at the forefront of the field who demonstrate that naturalistic sampling methods have developed into powerful tools for studying all facets of the human condition. The chapters have that rare combination of conceptual sophistication and methodological precision, making this book indispensable for anyone who wants to investigate how people feel, think, and behave in the moment-to-moment rhythms of their lives.”

—Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University


“This volume—more than any other book published in the last two decades—will change the field of psychology. Psychological scientists have long recognized that ultimately, if their research is to have any meaning, they must venture out of the lab to study psychological processes unfolding in the 'real world.' But until now there has not been a comprehensive resource to show them how. As the first complete, authoritative, and practical guide to studying daily life, this handbook is set to change the way research is done. Every behavioral scientist should own a copy.”

—Sam Gosling, PhD, Department of Psychology, The University of Texas at Austin


“This is an excellent and timely work of extraordinary breadth. It is both a primer for those new to daily experience research and a valuable reference for experienced researchers. Coverage ranges from conceptual foundations to applications and statistical methods, with discussions of self-report and objective measures; hardware and software; and research design, execution, and analysis. Rich with practical tips, this is truly a handbook that researchers will want to have close at hand as they navigate this exciting area. The book would serve superbly as a text for a graduate seminar.”

—Saul Shiffman, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh


“Over the last decades, as researchers focused on increasingly sophisticated but narrow methods and theories, many forgot that human beings live impressively complex lives outside the laboratory. In the real world, emotions, thinking patterns, biological activity, and social relationships are constantly interacting and changing in ways that are poorly understood. Some new sheriffs are in town. This remarkable handbook brings together some of the most innovative research in all of psychology, pointing to new ways of measuring natural behavior across a wide array of contexts. Expertly written and broad in scope, this book heralds a new generation of real-world research that will touch all of us in the years to come.”

—James W. Pennebaker, PhD, Regents Centennial Professor of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin

Table of Contents

I. Theoretical Background

1. Why Researchers Should Think “Real World”: A Conceptual Rationale, Harry T. Reis

2. Why Researchers Should Think “Real Time”: A Cognitive Rationale, Norbert Schwarz

3. Why Researchers Should Think “Within Person”: A Paradigmatic Rationale, Ellen L. Hamaker

4. Conducting Research in Daily Life: A Historical Review, Peter Wilhelm, Meinrad Perrez, and Kurt Pawlik

II. Study Design Considerations and Methods of Data Collection

5. Getting Started: Launching a Study in Daily Life, Tamlin S. Conner and Barbara J. Lehman

6. Measurement Reactivity in Diary Research, William D. Barta, Howard Tennen, and Mark D. Litt

7. Computerized Sampling of Experience and Behavior, Thomas Kubiak and Katharina Krog

8. Daily Diary Methods, Kathleen C. Gunthert and Susan J. Wenze

9. Event-Contingent Recording, D. S. Moskowitz and Gentiana Sadikaj

10. Naturalistic Observation Sampling: The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), Matthias R. Mehl and Megan L. Robbins

11. Ambulatory Psychoneuroendocrinology: Assessing Salivary Cortisol and Other Hormones in Daily Life, Wolff Schlotz

12. Bridging the Gap between the Laboratory and the Real World: Integrative Ambulatory Psychophysiology, Frank H. Wilhelm, Paul Grossman, and Maren I. Müller

13. Ambulatory Assessment of Movement Behavior: Methodology, Measurement, and Application, Johannes B. J. Bussmann and Ulrich W. Ebner-Priemer

14. Passive Telemetric Monitoring: Novel Methods for Real-World Behavioral Assessment, Matthew S. Goodwin

15. Emerging Technology for Studying Daily Life, Stephen S. Intille

III. Data-Analytic Methods

16. Power Analysis for Intensive Longitudinal Studies, Niall Bolger, Gertraud Stadler, and Jean-Philippe Laurenceau

17. Psychometrics, Patrick E. Shrout and Sean P. Lane

18. A Guide for Data Cleaning in Experience Sampling Studies, Kira O. McCabe, Lori Mack, and William Fleeson

19. Techniques for Analyzing Intensive Longitudinal Data with Missing Values, Anne C. Black, Ofer Harel, and Gregory Matthews

20. Multilevel Modeling Analyses of Diary-Style Data, John B. Nezlek

21. Structural Equation Modeling of Ambulatory Assessment Data, Michael Eid, Delphine S. Courvoisier, and Tanja Lischetzke

22. Analyzing Diary and Intensive Longitudinal Data from Dyads, Jean-Philippe Laurenceau and Niall Bolger

23. Investigating Temporal Instability in Psychological Variables: Understanding the Real World as Time Dependent, Ulrich W. Ebner-Priemer and Timothy J. Trull

24. Modeling Nonlinear Dynamics in Intraindividual Variability, Pascal R. Deboeck

25. Within-Person Factor Analysis: Modeling How the Individual Fluctuates and Changes across Time, Annette Brose and Nilam Ram

26. Multilevel Mediational Analysis in the Study of Daily Lives, Noel A. Card

IV. Research Applications: Perspectives from the Different Fields

27. Emotion Research, Adam A Augustine and Randy J. Larsen

28. Close Relationships, Shelly L. Gable, Courtney L. Gosnell, and Thery Prok

29. Personality Research, William Fleeson and Erik E. Noftle

30. Cross-Cultural Research, William Tov and Christie Napa Scollon

31. Positive Psychology, Jaime L. Kurtz and Sonja Lyubomirsky

32. Health Psychology, Joshua M. Smyth and Kristin E. Heron

33. Developmental Psychology, Joel M. Hektner

34. Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Daniel J. Beal

35. Clinical Psychology, Timothy J. Trull, Ulrich W. Ebner-Priemer, Whitney C. Brown, Rachel L. Tomko, and Emily M. Scheiderer

36. Psychiatry, Inez Myin-Germeys


About the Editors

Matthias R. Mehl, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona. He received his doctorate in social and personality psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Over the last decade, he developed the electronically activated recorder (EAR) as a novel methodology for the unobtrusive naturalistic observation of daily life. He has given workshops and published numerous articles on novel methods for studying daily life. Dr. Mehl is a founding member and the current Vice President of the Society for Ambulatory Assessment.

Tamlin S. Conner, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Otago in New Zealand. She received her doctorate in social psychology from Boston College and completed postdoctoral training in health and personality psychology at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She has published numerous articles on the theory and practice of experience sampling; is a leading expert on ambulatory self-report techniques; and conducts research on well-being, emotions, and the science of self-report. Dr. Conner is a founding member and current executive committee member of the Society for Ambulatory Assessment.

Contributors

ADVISORY EDITORIAL BOARD

Niall Bolger, PhD, Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York

Jochen Fahrenberg, PhD, Institute of Psychology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

Jean-Philippe Laurenceau, PhD, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

Harry T. Reis, PhD, Department of Clinical and Social Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Arthur A. Stone, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York

Howard Tennen, PhD, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut

 

CONTRIBUTORS

Adam A Augustine, PhD, Department of Psychology, Washington University at St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

William D. Barta, PhD, School of Nursing, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Daniel J. Beal, PhD, Department of Psychology, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Anne C. Black, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut

Niall Bolger, PhD, Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York

Annette Brose, PhD, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

Whitney C. Brown, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

Johannes B. J. Bussmann, PhD, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Noel A. Card, PhD, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Tamlin S. Conner, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Delphine S. Courvoisier, PhD, Department of Methodologies and Data Analysis, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

Pascal R. Deboeck, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Ulrich W. Ebner-Priemer, PhD, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany

Michael Eid, PhD, Department of Education and Psychology, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

William Fleeson, PhD, Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Shelly L. Gable, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Matthew S. Goodwin, PhD, Media Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Courtney L. Gosnell, MA, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Paul Grossman, PhD, Department of Psychosomatic Medicine, Division of Internal Medicine, University of Basel Hospital, Basel, Switzerland

Kathleen C. Gunthert, PhD, Department of Psychology, American University, Washington, DC

Ellen L. Hamaker, PhD, Department of Methods and Statistics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Ofer Harel, PhD, Department of Statistics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Joel M. Hektner, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Science, North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota

Kristin E. Heron, MS, Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Stephen S. Intille, PhD, Department of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Katharina Krog, DiplPsych, Institute of Psychology, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany

Thomas Kubiak, PhD, Department of Health Psychology, Institute of Psychology, University of Mainz, Germany

Jaime L. Kurtz, PhD, Department of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Sean P. Lane, MA, Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York

Randy J. Larsen, PhD, Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri

Jean-Philippe Laurenceau, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

Barbara J. Lehman, PhD, Department of Psychology, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Washington

Tanja Lischetzke, PhD, Department of Methods and Evaluation, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Mark D. Litt, PhD, Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut

Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of California at Riverside, Riverside, California

Lori Mack, MA, Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Gregory Matthews, PhD, Department of Statistics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Kira O. McCabe, MA, Faculty of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands

Matthias R. Mehl, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

D. S. Moskowitz, PhD, Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Maren I. Müller, DiplPsych, Faculty for Psychology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland

Inez Myin-Germeys, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

John B. Nezlek, PhD, Department of Psychology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia

Erik E. Noftle, PhD, Department of Psychology, Willamette University, Salem, Oregon

Kurt Pawlik, PhD, Psychological Institute, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Meinrad Perrez, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

Thery Prok, MA, Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Nilam Ram, PhD, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Harry T. Reis, PhD, Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Megan L. Robbins, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Gentiana Sadikaj, MS, Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Emily M. Scheiderer, BA, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

Wolff Schlotz, PhD, School of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

Norbert Schwarz, PhD, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Christie Napa Scollon, PhD, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, Singapore

Patrick E. Shrout, PhD, Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York

Joshua M. Smyth, PhD, Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Gertraud Stadler, PhD, Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York

Howard Tennen, PhD, Department of Community Medicine and Health Care, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, Connecticut

Rachel L. Tomko, MA, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

William Tov, PhD, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, Singapore

Timothy J. Trull, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri

Susan J. Wenze, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown University, and Butler Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island

Frank H. Wilhelm, PhD, Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria

Peter Wilhelm, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland

Audience

Researchers and students in social, personality, health, developmental, industrial/organizational, and clinical psychology.

Course Use

May serve as a text in graduate-level courses.