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Experience Sampling: Definition, Examples

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What is Experience Sampling?

experience sampling

How do students really feel about testing?

Experience sampling is a way to find out more about an experience while the event is actually happening. The method can help researchers understand people’s thoughts, actions and activities with minimal intrusion into participants daily lives. This method has the following characteristics:

  • Collects real-time, “in the moment” data.
  • Collects data from the environment where the event is actually happening in.
  • Typically involves a large amount of observations.
  • Usually involves a brief open- or closed-ended questionnaire.
  • Is dependent upon careful data collection.

This method is also called:

  • Ambulatory self-reporting,
  • The daily diary method,
  • Ecological momentary assessment,
  • intensive-longitudinal designs.

One example of experience sampling is the Science in the Moment(SciMo) study, which distributed beepers to students in high school science classes. The goal was to investigate how male and female students felt about science education. The beepers went off randomly during class, signaling students to complete short surveys about their experiences.

Advantages over Other Data Collection Methods

Experience sampling has several advantages over other methods:

  1. You can get access to parts of people’s lives that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to access (such as feelings during a workout or while participating in professional development classes).
  2. Recall bias is reduced because you’re collecting data as the event is actually happening.
  3. Thoughts and feelings can be studied in very specific situations.
  4. Statistical power tends to be higher than for many other quantitative methods.

Context-Aware Experience Sampling

Context-Aware Experience Sampling(CAES) uses technology like mobile phones to detect events, triggering a cue to collect data. For example, software can detect an increased heart rate, an activity like cycling, or movement into a certain geographic area(using GPS location). The CAES project at MIT is (as of time of writing) developing more tools in this area.

Hektner, J.M., Schmidt, J.A., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2007). Experience sampling method: Measuring the quality of everyday life. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Experience Sampling: Definition, Examples was last modified: May 22nd, 2017 by Andale

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