Short courses


Quantitative Time-Diary Analysis: An introduction

  • 2pm to 5pm
  • 2 days


This online short course provides an introduction to time diary analysis, a research method used to study the way people spend their time throughout the day.

Time diary analysis is a multidisciplinary field which has made a sustained contribution to social science over the last 50 years.

This course is part of suite of short courses run by IOE, UCL's faculty of education and society, as part of the NCRM (National Centre for Research Methods) training scheme.

Who this course is for

This course is for academics, doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, as well as public and private sector researchers.

You'll need to have a basic to intermediate knowledge of statistics (including uni- and bivariate descriptive statistics and regression), and some basic experience with statistical programming.

Course content

Topics covered by the course include:

  • Historical outline of time-diaries and time use research
  • Activities nomenclatures, survey designs and time diary dataset structure
  • Deriving duration and participation in activities from long and wide datasets
  • Multivariate analysis of aggregate time diary data
  • Weekly work schedules and working time
  • Weighting and accounting for clustering in time diary data

Structure and teaching

The course will take place online (Zoom) over two afternoons, from 2pm to 5pm each day, on 12 and 19 September 2022.

Each afternoon will consist of 3 sessions. Each session will involve a presentation, followed by a computer demonstration and a chance to ask questions. You're encouraged to replicate on your own computer the code demonstrated during the session.

You won't need to do any preparatory readings ahead of the course, but you can visit the CTUR website for general information about the Centre and using time diary data.

You'll be sent the written slides and syntax files by email after the course.

Computers and software

You're advised to have the latest version of the R software, with the dplyr and ggplot2 packages, installed on your computer.


Day 1: Introduction to time diary data analysis

  • Session 1: Origins and milestones of time diary analysis, structure and design of time diary surveys.Q&A.
  • Session 2: Structure and design of time diary surveys (continued). Estimating duration and participation: day- and person-level aggregate statistics. Q&A.
  • Session 3: Estimating duration and participation (continued), tempograms. Q&A. Discussion of participants' research ideas and interest.

Day 2: Working with time diary data

  • Session 1: Multivariate analysis of time-diary data: modelling time and participation. Q&A.
  • Session 2: Special topics: work schedule, weighting, and robust estimates. Q&A.
  • Session 3: Estimating duration and participation (continued). Q&A. Ddiscussion of participants research ideas and interests.

Participants will receive written slides and syntax files by email after the course. 

Learning outcomes 

By the end of the course you'll be able to:

  • identify significant milestones and contributions to time diary research
  • identify the main characteristics of time diaries, time diary surveys, and datasets
  • derive estimates from time diary surveys and use them in in their own analysis

Cost and concessions

This course costs:

  • £30 for students registered at a UK/EU university
  • £60 for staff at UK/EU academic institutions, UK/EU Research Councils researchers, UK/EU public sector staff, and staff at UK/EU registered charity organisations and recognised UK/EU research institutions
  • £100 for all other participants.


If you need to cancel, a full refund of the course fee is available up to two weeks prior to the course. No refunds will be available after this date.

If it is no longer possible to run a course due to circumstances beyond our control, NCRM reserves the right to cancel the course at its sole discretion at any time prior to the event. In this event every effort will be made to reschedule the course. If this is not possible or the new date is inconvenient a full refund of the course fee will be given.

Course team

Dr Pierre Walthéry

Dr Pierre Walthéry

Pierre is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Time Use Research (CTUR), part of the Social Research Institute at UCL. His research covers work and employment, gender inequality and subjective wellbeing through the prism of time diary. His recent work includes exploring enjoyment at work and the sharing of childcare using the 2015 UK Time Use Survey, and more recently, occupational risk associated with COVID 19.

Course information last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 16:01