Using a Life History Calendar to Measure Time Use in South India

Nancy Luke, Pennsylvania State University
Jamie McPike, Brown University
Susan E. Short, Brown University
Carrie E. Spearin, Brown University

Time use studies have been carried out worldwide; nevertheless, challenges to recording detailed, accurate information on how individuals spend their time remain. To make progress on these challenges, we designed a life history calendar to record respondents’ activities over a retrospective 24-hour period. Compared to the standard activity log approach, the calendar method could improve the accuracy of recall and provide greater flexibility for recording details about simultaneous activities (multi-tasking) and child-specific child care activities. In this paper, we describe this innovation, the Time Use Calendar (TUC), and our experiences designing and pretesting it in rural South India, where increasing son preference underscores the importance of measuring child investments for each child individually. Our study included 14 focus groups with men and women that explore local understandings of child care; an iterative process of instrument development; and instrument pretesting with 40 men and women in the study site.

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Presented in Session 216: Insights and Lessons for Improving Collection and Use of Existing Demographic Data Generation Systems