The unsolicited diary as a qualitative research tool for advanced research capacity in the field of health and illness

Qual Health Res. 2000 Jul;10(4):555-67. doi: 10.1177/104973200129118543.


In this article, the place of diary method is examined in the context of qualitative tools. Although much neglected in qualitative methodology, there is considerable support for its use, and it is argued that unsolicited diary analysis as a qualitative tool has value as a social research method. Although it is commissioned or solicited diaries that are increasingly popular in health research, different kinds of diary usage are examined together with certain possible biases and weaknesses. Although framework analysis was originally developed for analyzing interview data, it is seen as an appropriate qualitative tool for the analysis of unsolicited diaries. The analysis of an unsolicited diary account of a patient suffering from cancer of the larynx is explored as a potential data source.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health
  • Documentation
  • Health Services Research / methods*
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / psychology
  • Life Style
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Quality of Life*
  • Records*