The Experience Sampling Method (ESM) enables researchers to capture information
about participants' experiences in the moment. Adding an end-of-day retrospective
survey also allows participants to elaborate on those experiences. Although the use
of photos in retrospective interviews and surveys for memory elicitation is well
known, little research has investigated the use of photos in ESM studies. As
smartphone adoption increases facilitating ESM studies and making photo sharing
easier, researchers need to continuously evaluate the method and investigate the
role of photos in such studies. We conducted a large-scale ESM and retrospective
survey study via Android smartphones with more than 1,000 US participants, and
analyzed participants' photo submissions, including how photo use correlated with
participants' data quality and what, if any, value photos added for researchers.
Our study sheds light on the role of photos in ESM and retrospective studies that
researchers can reference when constructing future study designs.