Blog Post about Blog Posts [Post #4]
So if you’ve been following my journey with Bassett, you know that we hit some challenges with digital journaling as a research method. But those challenges were learning opportunities, and we found ways to modify the research so it is compliant.
The solution: to keep using the blog format, but instead of asking the participants to take pictures, they were ask to upload “media pieces” to support their text. These media pieces could be stock images, songs, quotes, websites, etc.—as long as they didn’t take pictures while in the medical centers. The photo above is a blog post from one of our participants, and she found a piece of art work and a quote to represent her emotions.
Here are some ADVANTAGES I found to using this method:
- Capture in-the-moment thoughts and emotions. Some of this can be lost if a participant is asked to recall it from memory.
- Blogs can be really personal. Some people write blogs everyday, like they would a diary entry. We can tap into this mentality for some rich material.
- Artifacts. Now we have a dozen blogs with quotes and media…imagine the possibility!
As you already know, this wasn’t easy to pull off. Here are some more CHALLENGES:
- Not everything can be digital. As we soon found out, there are things like consent forms that are not in digital format. Participants had to scan, fax, or snail mail the consent forms back to us. Also, their compensation (Visa Gift Cards) had to be mailed out separately.
- Timeframe for study. This study was particularly complicated because we had to recruit participants who had doctor visits scheduled during the time of our study. Some participants even rescheduled their visits so they can be part of the study.
- No face-to-face time. It might take a little bit more work to get participants to follow through because they are on their own to complete the assignment. We are not there to guide and lead them.
And as always, I LEARNED a lot from this experience:
- Are you tech-savvy? Since this method relies heavily on technology, it is difficult to include participants who are not comfortable using technology, and they must be screen out early in the process.
- Add a human and personal touch. Call your participants, write your emails in a friendly tone, sign your name, let them know there is a real person they can reach out to, even if they never get to meet you.
And I just want to give a shout out to Tom, Andrew, Kate, and the rest of the Bassett team who helped us work through those bumps in the road. We learned so much from you guys and from this experience.