Conference Programme 2015

Conference floor plans and map
Tuesday 14th July      Wednesday 15th July      Thursday 16th July      Friday 17th July     


Tuesday 14th July, 16:00 - 17:30 Room: HT-104

Methodological developments in time use research

Convenor Miss Emily Gilbert (Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education )
Coordinator 1Dr Stella Chatzitheochari (University of Warwick)

Session Details

Providing a comprehensive and sequential account of daily activities and their context, time use data are increasingly utilised to produce national accounts of well-being, analyse a wide range of health and social outcomes, and understand different aspects of human behaviour. Recent years have witnessed the steady growth of stand-alone time use surveys, as well as the inclusion of time diary elements in large-scale social surveys. This has resulted in an impressive pool of data from developed and developing countries. However, despite this increased interest in the collection of time use data, there is relatively little recent methodological evidence in the area. The majority of earlier work focuses on conventional, paper-based diary formats that are becoming less common, while there is a lack of systematic research examining new modes of data collection and study designs.

This session aims to cover a range of contemporary methodological issues in time use research. In particular, submissions are welcomed on:
- using different modes of data collection and innovative technology for time use data collection, including the web and mobile phones
- designing time use diaries for children and young people including the design of age-specific activity categories and assessing the reliability and validity of children’s time diaries
- collecting and analysing time use data in longitudinal surveys
- innovative methods of statistical analysis of time use data
- effects of different modes of data collection, including comparisons of paper-based, web-based and App-based formats
- developments on harmonisation of cross-national time use data

Paper Details

1. Measuring teenager time-use in the UK Millennium Cohort Study: A mixed-mode approach
Dr Stella Chatzitheochari (University of Warwick)
Miss Emily Gilbert (Institute of Education, UCL)
Dr Kimberly Fisher (University of Oxford)

The Millennium Cohort Study is the first study that uses a mixed-method approach (web, App, paper) for the collection of time-use among teenagers. Cohort members are asked to choose their mode of preference, while a paper alternative is offered to those who do not have Smartphone/Internet access. Participants are asked to complete a weekday and a weekend diary, and to wear an accelerometer during the designated days. This presentation discusses the development of MCS time diaries for the Age 14 Survey and reports dress rehearsal findings on take-up mode and data quality across different modes.



2. Technology and Reporting of Daily Activities – Considerations for Analysis of Behaviours in Mixed-Mode Time Diary Surveys and for Comparison of Time Diary Surveys Collected Via Mobile Technologies with Pen and Paper and Phone Diary Surveys
Dr Kimberly Fisher (Centre for Time Use Research, University of Oxford)

More time use surveys use phone apps or web collection to expand the range of information collected while decreasing respondent burden and survey costs. These new modes change reporting in subtle but significant ways, prompting more short spontaneous activities, particularly movement between places and use of electronic communications. New modes also register details not necessarily noticed by participants, revealing a need for mixed mode tests to retain comparability with the rich history of time use data. This presentation uses a time diary surveys conducted in the UK by the Centre for Time Use Research from 2011 to 2015.


3. Smartphones @work
Dr Michael Bittman (University of New England, Australia)

The official time use surveys produce little information about how people spent their time ‘at work’. Collecting the data via smartphones and using a combination of ‘random time sampling’ and the ‘intensive hour’, I have overcome the problems of excessive respondent burden and fears of self-incrimination. I will present pilot data from two professions showing that this techniques yields accurate data on hours worked, detailed information on sub-tasks and work flow (by season, day of the week and time of day). In addition, I will demonstrate, using this technique capturest real-time subjective information about ‘job



4. Developing a method to test the validity and reliability of 24 hour time use diaries using wearable cameras: A feasibility pilot
Dr Teresa Harms (Centre for Time Use Research (CTUR), Department of Sociology, University of Oxford)
Professor Jonathan Gershuny (Centre for Time Use Research (CTUR), Department of Sociology, University of Oxford)
Dr Aiden Doherty (Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford)

Time use diaries collect a continuous sequenced record of daily activities. This study tests the feasibility of using wearable camera images to assess their validity. Fourteen volunteers completed the HETUS diary and used an Autographer wearable camera for the waking hours of the same 24-hour period. Participants also completed a ‘reconstruction’ interview using the camera images as prompts to reconstruct their daily activities. We compared time use from the diary and camera records finding no significant difference between the samples in the aggregate totals of daily activities. The visualisations of the individual activity sequences reveal some potentially important differences.


5. Regularity of time-use. Introducing an objective measure of daily routine
Mr Theun Pieter Van Tienoven (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Sociology Dept., Research Group TOR)
Professor Ignace Glorieux (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Sociology Dept., Research Group TOR)
Mr Joeri Minnen (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Sociology Dept., Research Group TOR)

Contemporary society is characterized by fragmentation, acceleration and spatial dispersion of the activities that make up daily life. Stable practices or daily routines are assumed to help us succeed in a society where ‘busyness’, multiple roles and multiple commitments are (normative) characteristics of a valued life. As a result people replace the choice for these activities by the routine of activities; what we do now is what we did before. This contribution introduces an innovative way to measure the routine of daily activities in general or the routine of one specific activity using time-use data.