Solicited participant diaries are an excellent source of data that has not been given sufficient attention as a data collection strategy for qualitative research. In a recent grounded theory study designed to explore strategies used by older adults to manage their chronic health problems, solicited diaries, when combined with an initial and follow-up interview, provided a rich source of data about day-to-day activities of participants. There were three options for maintaining the diary: written, audiotaped, or telephone conversation. The solicited diaries were guided by a set of open-ended questions designed to encourage participants to focus on daily activities and reflect on their values. The authors provide examples of data from participant diaries and suggestions for incorporating solicited participant diaries into data collection strategies for qualitative research.
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