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Abstract

The central research question in this paper is: How do Total Time Diaries and Activity Diaries measure online behaviour? First a comparison is made between diaries and other methods to obtain information about user behaviour on the internet. Also the practical value of both Total Time and Activity diaries is discussed. The research question is answered by examining two diary studies on online behaviour conducted in the Netherlands in 2001 and 2003. Theoretical issues as well as practical issues that need to be taken into account to perform such a study successfully are addressed. Also the practical applicability of diaries as research instruments is elaborated on. This examination shows that, although not fully optimised yet, diaries are a good way to gain both quantitative as well as qualitative information on Internet behaviour.

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