Calendar and time diary methods

Ana Lucía Córdova-Cazar, Robert F. Belli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


For decades, individual and social well-being have been reduced to material wellbeing. Given that economic or financial success cannot fully capture an integral concept of human well-being, a new paradigm has emerged, one which focuses on the nonmarket contribution and behavior of households. This new paradigm goes beyond the typical scope of economic science in which only the activities that can be measured in monetary terms are included. A critical aspect of this paradigm is that the way people spend their time needs to be taken into account in a rigorous and scientific way, as it is only by understanding previous life events that present and future life course development can be predicted. Thus, valid retrospective and behavioral reports are needed from individuals. When the goal, however, is not only to conduct qualitative research (e.g., through in-depth interviews), but to draw quantitative inferences from samples to the general population, survey interviewing is inevitably involved. In this chapter, we will examine calendar and time diary methods which have been shown to be especially effective when it comes to assessing well-being. Although these methods forego the standardization of question wording (the most prevalent approach in traditional survey interviewing), they are nevertheless able to produce reliable and valid responses, while also encouraging conversational flexibility that assists respondents to remember and correctly report the interrelationships among past events. Further, in this chapter we also discuss the application of the calendar and time diary methods in several health and social sciences fields of research, through which well-being is evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research Methods in Health Social Sciences
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789811052514
ISBN (Print)9789811052507
StatePublished - Jan 12 2019


  • Calendar method
  • Time diary method
  • Time-use research
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Medicine


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