The Health and Social Consequences of the 2001 Foot and Mouth Epidemic in North Cumbria
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Designing the diary

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diary extract

An initial design for the project diary was piloted with a small group of volunteers for comment on comprehensibility and usability. To encourage those respondents who might not be used to writing, the diary began with a few simple questions for that week around quality of life, relationships with family and work colleagues, and health. However the main part of the diary, the free text section, was not prescribed in any way. This section was the most heavily used by respondents. We wanted respondents themselves to articulate what was important, so that we could follow their identification of priorities and how these changed over time. Our largest body of data is contained within the free text sections of the diaries. We argue that the themes we have identified have greater reliability and validity because the data supporting them was not generated from explicit questions.

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