Designing daily-life research combining experience sampling method with parallel data

Joana De Calheiros Velozo, Jeroen Habets*, Sandip V George, Koen Niemeijer, Olga Minaeva, Noëmi Hagemann, Christian Herff, Peter Kuppens, Aki Rintala, Thomas Vaessen, Harriëtte Riese, Philippe Delespaul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Ambulatory monitoring is gaining popularity in mental and somatic health care to capture an individual's wellbeing or treatment course in daily-life. Experience sampling method collects subjective time-series data of patients' experiences, behavior, and context. At the same time, digital devices allow for less intrusive collection of more objective time-series data with higher sampling frequencies and for prolonged sampling periods. We refer to these data as parallel data. Combining these two data types holds the promise to revolutionize health care. However, existing ambulatory monitoring guidelines are too specific to each data type, and lack overall directions on how to effectively combine them.

METHODS: Literature and expert opinions were integrated to formulate relevant guiding principles.

RESULTS: Experience sampling and parallel data must be approached as one holistic time series right from the start, at the study design stage. The fluctuation pattern and volatility of the different variables of interest must be well understood to ensure that these data are compatible. Data have to be collected and operationalized in a manner that the minimal common denominator is able to answer the research question with regard to temporal and disease severity resolution. Furthermore, recommendations are provided for device selection, data management, and analysis. Open science practices are also highlighted throughout. Finally, we provide a practical checklist with the delineated considerations and an open-source example demonstrating how to apply it.

CONCLUSIONS: The provided considerations aim to structure and support researchers as they undertake the new challenges presented by this exciting multidisciplinary research field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0033291722002367
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Medicine
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Aug 2022

Cite this