Milla Pihlajamäki

Department of Neuroscience
Biomedical Sciences Group
KU Leuven

The Who, How, and What of Experience Sampling – Building an Evidence-Based Methodological Foundation for Experience-Sampling Research in Different Populations

The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) is an intensive longitudinal data collection method capturing momentary experiences and their context in the real world and in real-time. Despite ESM’s growing popularity, we know relatively little about factors that may influence the quality and quantity of ESM data, which are crucial to the reliability of ESM. Data quantity and quality are influenced by numerous decisions researchers must make when setting up an ESM study. Namely, they must decide what items to include (e.g., do they measure what they are supposed to measure) and how the study is set up (e.g., how to incentivize participants), whilst considering who they are investigating. However, there is currently little research to help researchers make informed decisions when setting up ESM studies. Thus, the present research has four objectives relating to the ‘what’, ‘how’, and ‘who’ of ESM research: 1) to evaluate and validate ESM items in different populations (‘what’ and ‘who’), 2) to quantify the influence of different time frames of retrospective items on data quality in a student population (‘what’), 3) to quantify the influence of different incentives on data quality and quantity in a student population (‘how’), and 4) to investigate the effects of sampling frequency on data quality and quantity in different populations (‘how’ and ‘who’). The general hypothesis is that data quality and quantity are influenced by different study design choices and person-level characteristics. The general aim is to contribute to guidelines that can be used to guide future ESM research.

Prof. Dr. Inez Germeys
Prof. Dr. Olivia Kirtley
Prof. Dr. Ginette Lafit
Dr. Gudrun Eisele

Financed by
FWO grant to Prof. Dr. Germeys

September 2023 – August 2027