Find us on Facebook Find us on LinkedIn Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to our YouTube channel Instagram

Professional Development Program

Solicited Diaries for Qualitative Research

Professor Alex Broom, UNSW

17th Oct 2017  09:00 am - 05:00 pm The Refectory, Level 5, Abercrombie Building (H70)

A Body, Heart and Mind in Business (BHMB) Research Group workshop in cooperation with the PDP.

Presenter: Professor Alex Broom, Professor of Sociology, UNSW
Date: 9am - 5pm, Tuesday 17 October 2017
Venue: The Refectory, Level 5, Abercrombie Building (H70)

This master-class provides attendees with the skills to design, develop, implement and analyse diary data in social research. The workshop is relevant to anyone who utilises qualitative research within their work, including those with an interest in finding ways of mapping experience over time. A basic knowledge of research methods, particularly qualitative methodology is recommended.

The use of diaries as a means of collecting data is an established methodological tool. However, their use has not been widespread in the social sciences. Although diaries may not encompass dialogue and probing evident in verbal communication, they are powerful in allowing an examination of seemingly mundane day-to-day thoughts, processes and undulations. This method can be used to powerfully access the content of daily life, allowing research participants themselves to start the ‘interpretive process’, and to transcend the potential artificiality and power dynamics of face-to-face methods. A primary and significant benefit of personal diaries is the temporal nature of the insight they offer, allowing for flexibility and variation in the narratives presented. Moreover, diaries can offer insight into participants’ experiences as they happen and in participants’ own words, providing a unique form of knowledge which observation or retrospective interview accounts cannot obtain. Diaries can be used in a range of settings, and for various purposes.

The workshop will explore the following topics:

  • The logic of qualitative research, with a focus on solicited diaries/temporal designs
  • The design and development of diaries
  • Implementation and analysis of diaries: Stand-alone, mixed methods, ethics and direction 
  • Analysis of workshop participant provided data
  • Write-up and publication of diary data


Professor Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology at UNSW Sydney. He is recognised as an international leader in the sociology of health and illness, specialising in illness and wellness experiences; the therapeutic encounter; heath and medical decision-making; experiences of suffering, healing and survivorship; and, the dynamics of caregiving. He is particularly concerned with fostering greater inclusion of patient, community and consumer voices and experiences in the character and delivery of healthcare. Empirically he is currently exploring these, and many other issues, in areas such as cancer, palliative and end-of-life care; death, dying and bereavement; chronic illness; and, infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. His work extends across a variety of cultural contexts, with current projects in Australia, Britain, India and Brazil. His recent books (authored) include Dying: A Social Perspective on the End of Life (Routledge, 2015) and Bodies and Suffering: Emotions and Relations of Care (Routledge 2017, with Ana Dragojlovic).

Across all his projects Alex works regularly with a wide range of industry partners (e.g. hospitals, community organisations, professional organisations related to health and medicine) with a focus on improving people's experiences of illness and the delivery of healthcare. His program of research melds the conceptual richness of sociology with the value of applied, translational health research. He specialises in qualitative research, but employs a wide range of research methods to gain a better understanding of complex and emerging social problems. He has published over 220 publications including 12 books, is an investigator on over AU$8 million in competitive research grants, and currently holds Honorary/Visiting Professorial positions at King’s College London, The University of Queensland and the University of Technology Sydney. He is Co-Director of UNSW's Practical Justice Initiative. He is also a PLuS Alliance Fellow, working across the areas of Global Health and Social Justice.


Please register by 10 October 2017, due to the structure of the workshop places are limited.