Field: The diary method

In the diary or notebook method the researcher takes notes of compliments that he or she encounters in his or her daily life. Very often the researcher enlists the help of other compliment collectors, typically the researcher’s students. In this way a large number of compliment exchanges can be collected easily and quickly. Manes and Wolfson call this method the “ethnographic approach” and claim that it is “the only reliable method for collecting data about the way compliments, or indeed, any other speech act functions” (Manes and Wolfson 1981: 115).

For a discussion of this method in connection with a particular set of research questions see: