The sampling of experiences in situ


  • The author's work on the experience sampling method was facilitated by grants (Ho 905/1–lf) from the German Science Foundation (DFG) The author thanks Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for making him familiar with the method, and Marco Lalli and Andrea Endres for their help in developing the Heidelherg version of the ESM Steve Franzoi, Erich Kirchler, Robert Emmons, and Karl Schuessler, as well as anonymous reviewers and especially the editor of the special issue, Stephen G West, made useful suggestions during the preparation of this article

should be addressed to Stefan Hormuth, Psychol Institut, Universität Heidelberg, Hauptstr 47–51, D–6900 Heidelberg 1, West Germany


The experience sampling method (ESM) attempts to sample randomly from people's everyday experiences Typically, subjects carry beepers and report their experiences immediately following a signal ESM stresses ecological validity and potentially permits the study of the stream of thought or behavior Within personality psychology, ESM allows for the investigation of interactions between person and situation variables without some of the limitations of other approaches A detailed presentation of the practical issues involved in the use of ESM is included, along with a discussion of some procedural and technological variants An assessment of the method discusses issues of data quality and validity, possible other areas of application for the method, as well as limitations that require the continued empirical assessment and future refinements of the method