Scientific Publication

Spot phone calls: A new method for measuring time use


Time-use research can provide important insights for different research questions. However, many time-use measures do not capture seasonal differences, qualitative dimensions of time use, and activities that are considered less ‘important’ or ‘desirable’. To address these issues, this article proposes spot phone calls as a new method for measuring time use. The spot phone calls methodology was piloted as part of a research project on time use of adults and children in northern Uganda. In different periods of the year, participants were called on their phones at different times of the day to be asked about their time use. The method was cost and time effective and made it possible to identify and understand seasonal differences in time use. It captured emotional and relational aspects of time use and accounted for activities that were undercounted in other measures, such as ‘doing nothing’ and men’s participation in unpaid care and domestic work. This article calls for the method to be tested with a larger sample