Webbläsaren som du använder stöds inte av denna webbplats. Alla versioner av Internet Explorer stöds inte längre, av oss eller Microsoft (läs mer här: * https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/windows/end-of-ie-support).

Var god och använd en modern webbläsare för att ta del av denna webbplats, som t.ex. nyaste versioner av Edge, Chrome, Firefox eller Safari osv.


Micol Mieli



The Challenges of Experience Sampling Method in a Qualitative Study on Tourist Information Behaviour on Smartphones


  • Micol Mieli

Summary, in English

Background of the study One of the main challenges in tourism research is to find effective methodologies to capture the salient moments that make a tourist experience memorable (Cary, 2004; Tussyadiah, 2014). A gap exists between the tourist experience – which happens at a destination, during the time of the trip – and the recollection of it during the study – which often happens days, weeks or months later, in a different place and setting (Cary, 2004). Therefore, there is a need in tourism research to experiment and apply new methods, which can help access different moments of the tourist experience and different sites of investigation.Although the body of literature on smartphones and tourism is growing (see, among others Dickinson, Ghali, Cherrett, Speed, Davies, & Norgate, 2014; Wang, Xiang & Fesenmaier, 2016), research on information behaviour and how it relates to the use of smartphones is lacking. Purpose of the study The research is an exploratory study of tourists’ information search behaviour through smartphones. The purpose of the study is twofold: on one hand, the aim is to test the application of experience sampling method (ESM) in a qualitative study in the field of tourism and enrich the current methodological discussion in the fields of tourism and consumption, On the other hand, the study aims to explore and get a better understanding of tourists’ information behaviour in situ as well as tourists’ relationship with smartphones. In particular, it focuses on the concept of “planned serendipity” (Mieli & Zillinger, forthcoming) as a peculiar mode of information search, especially enabled by the use of smartphones.
Methodology The present research is designed as a two-part study, the first part employs the experience sampling method (ESM), developed by Csikszentmihalyi and Larson (Csikszentmihalyi, Larson & Prescott, 1977; Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 2014) in the field of psychology, and later also applied in the fields of consumer studies (Becker, 2018) and tourism (Quinlan Cutler, Doherty, & Carmichael, 2018). The first phase of the study takes place in situ during the participant's travels: participants are required to download a smartphone application that sends daily reminders to fill in short questionnaires over the course of seven days, or the length of the trip if shorter. The second part takes place after the trip, and it consists of a semi-structured, qualitative interview of an average duration of 45-60 minutes. The data from questionnaires is preliminarily analysed by the researcher in order to prepare for the follow-up interview, where the same travel experience is discussed. Considering the exploratory aim of the study, general principles of grounded theory are followed in the analysis.
Results The pilot study shows that ESM offers huge potential for tourism research, however the practical challenges and implications of using the method are also significant: ESM can be burdensome for research participants, especially in a tourism study where subjects are required to complete a questionnaire every day while they are travelling. The method is also not widely used in consumer research; therefore, the researcher needs to provide a large amount of information, which can create insecurity or annoyance in participants. Downloading an application for the sake of participating a research can be equally burdensome and discouraging for some tourists.The preliminary results suggest that smartphones can have a major influence on the travel experience and information behaviour, and that the concept of ‘planned serendipity’ could be useful in understanding how such behaviour is shaped by modern technologies. Tourists’ information needs are shifting forward in time and towards the actual moment of consumption. Moreover, tourists try to achieve a precarious balance between knowledge and surprise about their destination, and this behaviour is enabled and encouraged by the use of smartphones.
Conclusions ESM has shown to be a valuable tool to understand what happens in ‘the tourist moment’ (Cary, 2004), but its application requires knowledge and practice, as well as awareness of its pitfalls and challenges. The preliminary results are promising in the sense that they suggest that there is indeed a connection between tourists’ information behaviour and the materiality of the objects they use both in their everyday life and during the tourism experience, specifically smartphones.
Research implications and limitations The methodology employed in the study represents an attempt in broadening the horizons of tourism research tools and methods, which is greatly needed in a time when technology has penetrated every aspect of people’s lives and traditional methods often fail to capture important aspects of the workings of society. It is evident that there is much to explore in terms of people’s relationship with technology, both in everyday life and during unique experiences, as travel often is. New concepts and conceptualisations are needed to understand the digitalised landscape of tourism information sources and tourists’ behaviour.


  • Institutionen för tjänstevetenskap






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • : ESM, Experience Sampling Method, Smartphone, Tourism Information, Serendipity

Conference name

Consumer Behavior in Tourism Symposium 2019 <br/>

Conference date

2019-12-11 - 2019-12-14

Conference place

Bolzano, Italy