Call-in, cellphone-based diary studies can be a powerful way of collecting data about people’s activities. In diary studies, subjects record their own activity over time. But people often simply fill out the diary at the end of the day, if they remember to do so at all. So some researchers have experimented with having people call in and leave a report when they do the activity of interest, which is especially useful now that most everyone carries a cellphone.
The problem, of course, is — how do you collect the data? Do you devote a phone line to this? What do you do when you don’t have — or need — that degree of resources? How do you set up a temporary voicemail for people to call in their reports?
Virginia Lingham figured this out for her 214 project: she used www.snapvine.com. It’s designed to collect voice comments on a social networking site, among other things. And it’s free.
How it works (this is what I understand from their website and what Virginia said– I haven’t tried it). They give you a number that people call and leave messages. (I don’t know what sort of prompt it lets you leave.) You can then dial in and listen to the comments. It says “you can listen, delete, record, reply” — I’m not sure how the recording works. If you want, it’ll send you a text message every time a comment is left.
If anyone tries it, please leave a comment here (in text; sorry) telling the rest of us how it worked out for this purpose.