Chloe Fan’s Study on Barriers to Self-Tracking

This is a guest post by Chloe Fan:

Hi! I’m a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon in Human-Computer Interaction, and I’m interested in learning about the barriers that you may encounter while collecting or reflecting on your personal information (e.g., too tedious to collect, information not useful, forgetting to collect).

I’m also interested in learning how long-term users have overcome these barriers. The area of personal informatics/self-tracking is not yet well-studied in academic research, so this research on how people respond and cope with barriers to tracking and reflecting can help us design better tools for tracking personal information.

Study details:
This study consists of a short 5-10 minute online survey about the personal information you’re collecting, the tool you are using, and any barriers that come up during the collecting and reflecting process. At the end of the survey, you will have the option to enter your contact information if we can follow up with a phone interview. This interview should last about an hour.

If you complete the online survey, you will be entered into a $25 online gift card raffle. If you are chosen for the interview and choose to participate, you will be compensated $10 an hour.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing about your experiences!

Survey Link:

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6 Responses to Chloe Fan’s Study on Barriers to Self-Tracking

  1. Chloe Fan says:

    I just wanted to thank everyone who has filled out the survey or showed interest in my project! I’ve gotten a lot of responses and over the next few weeks will continue to recruit for interviews. The survey will close on May 28. Thanks again for helping me with my research. You guys rock. :)

    • A.G. Dugan says:

      Hi Chloe – Your research is very interesting; I wish you the best with it. Is there much research published on topic of self-tracking? I do not know much about the topic and would like to learn more. Given your knowledge, can you recommend some articles for me to read? Thanks! A.G.

      • Chloe Fan says:

        Hey A.G.,

        There are a few HCI papers that I know of. Ian Li, who posts on QS, has a few papers (, with good references you can check out. The more pervasive area in Human-Computer Interaction would be work on behavior change/persuasive computing, e.g., Sunny Consolvo’s work. There will be a QS blog post up soon about a workshop at the CHI conference focused on personal informatics/self-tracking tools, so keep your eyes peeled out for that as well!


  2. A.G. Dugan says:

    Hi Chloe. These are great resources for getting me started. I appreciate you posting them. All the best to you!

  3. Eva Miller says:

    I’m especially interested in the qualities that people have who are attracted to this kind of thinking. My suspicion is that the people who like self-quantifying are already analytical, conscientious, perhaps better educated, and are naturally the kind of people who look for ways to improve or make changes in their lives. With or without this technical capability, they would make rational decisions. This does not describe most people. I’m afraid the quantified self may be a very short-sighted approach to affecting human behavior.

    • Chloe Fan says:

      Eva, I had similar thoughts to you. Part of my research is also trying to find ways to create user profiles to help users continue using self-tracking tools. For example, someone who is not very self-motivated and is tracking because she is curious might need added incentives to keep tracking, whereas someone who is tracking for a serious health issue might use a tool regardless of virtual incentives it offers. I’m trying to find what those characteristics might be, and why different people respond to different incentives or features.

      I’d love to continue this conversation with anyone here, via email, or at the QS conference!

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