You are here

Experience Sampling Method

Experience Sampling Method
Measuring the Quality of Everyday Life

August 2006 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Experience Sampling Method: Measuring the Quality of Everyday Life is the first book to bring together the theoretical foundations and practical applications of this indispensable methodology. Authors Joel M. Hektner, Jennifer A. Schmidt, and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi provide fascinating information for anyone interested in how people go about their daily lives.

Key Features:  
  • Provides a step-by-step guide: In nontechnical prose, the book details the logistics of carrying out an Experience Sampling Method (ESM) study and guides the reader through every step of the process, from conceiving the research question to analyzing the data. In addition, a through treatment of the measurement of Csikszentmihalyi's flow describes all of the different ways in which flow can be measured.
  • Includes real-life examples: This book gives readers useful tips to consider before implementing a study, based on real-life examples. It illustrates how the ESM has been used to address a diverse array of topics in social science research including the phenomenology of everyday life, gender differences, family relations, work experiences, cross-cultural differences and similarities, school experiences, and mental health.
  • Offers a complete overview of the foundations for ESM: This is the first source to compile findings from a large and increasingly diverse research literature documenting the use of the ESM. A comprehensive overview is given of issues affecting reliability and validity of the method and empirical evidence of its psychometric properties.
Intended Audience:  
This is a must-have resource for social and behavioral scientists who are studying the human experience in everyday life and need guidelines for how to validate and present their data. It can also be used in various advanced undergraduate and graduate research methods courses in the departments of Education, Educational Psychology, Psychology, Nursing, and Health.

List of Tables and Figures
Part I: The Origins of ESM
Chapter 1: Epistemological Foundations for the Measurement of Experience
A Systematic Phenomenology

The Experience Sampling Method

A Brief History

How Trustworthy Are Subjective Self-Reports?

What Can We Learn From ESM?

Chapter 2: Theoretical Foundations of ESM
Biology, Culture, and Daily Behavior

Subjective Experience in Context: The Interplay of Psychological Processes and Cognitive Functions

Interaction of Individuals and Environments

Experience Fluctuations, Well-Being, and Development

A Theoretical Compass for Exploring Experience

Part II: How to Measure the Quality of Everyday Life
Chapter 3: Collecting the Data
Designing a Study Using ESM

Equipment and Signaling Schedules

Designing the Form

Other Design Decisions

Implementing the Study


Chapter 4: Dealing With the Data: Coding, Entry, Cleaning, and Data Management
Developing a Codebook

Coding the External Coordinates of Experience

Conding the Internal Coordinates of Experience

What to Do With the Codes Once They Are Developed: Physically Coding and Entering the Data

Setup, Cleaning, and Manipulation of Data Files

Response-Level Data and Person-Level Data

Postentry Data Manipulation

Data File Management and Documentation

Chapter 5: Types of Analyses
Qualitative Approaches

Graphic and Numeric Descriptive Information

Planning for Statistical Analyses

OLS Statistical Techniques

Multilevel and Other Complex Statistical Techniques

Chapter 6: Psychometrics of ESM Data
Validity of Method

Validity of ESM Measurements

Reliability of ESM Measurements

Part III: Uses of ESM in Social Science Research
Chapter 7: Samples of Experience
The Who, What, Where, When, and How of Daily Experiences

Quality of Experience in Selected Activities

Quality of Experience of Selected Groups of People

Emotions, Well-Being, and Flow

Chapter 8: The Experience of Males and Females
Differences in Activities

Differences in Companionship

Similiarities and Differences in Emotional Experience

Other Gender Differences in Adolescence

Chapter 9: The Experience of Family Life
Methodological Concerns and Variations

The Couple Relationship

The Arrival of the First Child

Juggling Work and Family Roles

The Adolescent's Experience of Family

Transmission of Emotions Between Family Members

Comparisons Between Families: Optimal Conditions for Adolescent Development

Chapter 10: The Experience of Work
Methodological Concerns and Variations

Time and Work

The Quality of Experience at Work: General Trends

The Quality of Experience Across Workers

The Quality of Experience Across Work Activities

The Intersection of Work and Family

The Experience of Unemployment

Adolescent Work

Chapter 11: Examining Cross-Cultural Differences
Methodological Concerns and Variations

Culture and Time Use

Cross-Cultural Variation in General Affective Experience

Culture and Subjective Experience in Various Activities

Cross-Cultural Examination of Flow

Studies of American Subcultures

Chapter 12: Educational Applications
Methodological Concerns and Variations

Time Use and Structure of Classrooms

The Quality of Students' Classroom Experiences

Comparing Students' Classroom Experiences

After-School Programs

Studies of Adult Learners

The Experience of Teachers

Chapter 13: Clinical Applications
Methodological Concerns and Variations

Use of ESM for Describing and Contextualizing Experiences of Disorder

Use of ESM in Therapy and in Treatment Evaluation

Concluding Thoughts
Ten Major Issues ESM Illuminates

Appendix A: Sample ESM Data Collection Forms (ESFs)
Appendix B: ESM Coding Scheme Used in the Sloan Study of Youth and Social Development
About the Authors

"This book provides interesting reading for students in research method courses and belongs on the must-read list of investigators who are considering the application of ESM to their own research."

Susan L. Trumbetta
Key features
  • A complete overview of the foundations for ESM;
  • A step-by-step guide for researchers designing and implementing an ESM study;
  • Useful tips to consider before implementing a study, based on real-life examples;
  • Specific uses for ESM in research, including coverage of gender, family life, work, cross-cultural differences, education, and clinical applications.


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 5

Chapter 12

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase or sample this product on our Sage College Publishing site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.