News & Announcements


Cross-National Historical Change in Sleep Durations and Timing

Our Senior Research Fellow Juana Lamote de Grignon Perez and colleagues write about how time use diaries offers offer the best options to study sleep data in the absence of nationally representative samples of objective measures. The analysis looks into the possible sleep deprivation epidemic.

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New Harmonised European Time Use Survey (HETUS) compatible Click and Drag Diary Instrument (CaDDI)

CTUR has recently developed and run a Harmonised European Time Use Survey (HETUS)-compatible version of its ‘Click and Drag Diary Instrument’ (CaDDI) designed to demonstrate how drop-down menus can expand the activity categories of the original design to compatibility with the full HETUS classification of activities list.  For this version the basic 7-field design of the original CaDDI was retained, but the main and secondary lists of activity were expanded in drop-down menus to include over 100 activities, fully compatible with the 2018 HETUS Guidelines (minor changes were also made to the location field and transportation mode coding to ensure compatibility).

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Time use data: What can instantaneous enjoyment tell us about life satisfaction?

Our Research Fellow Elena Mylona, who led the research, analysed our 20/21 UK time use data collected using the CaDDI instrument, to see behavioural change over lockdown restrictions, and two intervening periods where restrictions were eased; allowing us to explore what impact, if any, lockdowns might have on the relationship between time use and wellbeing.

This research was conducted in partnership with the What Works Centre for Wellbeing, and was supported by the ESRC

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CTUR receives funding under ESCoE

Professors Jonathan Gershuny and Oriel Sullivan presented at the launch of the new Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence (ESCoE) funded by the Office of National Statistics on 12th December 2022. They discussed their contribution to the project: "The ESCoE time-use programme: Time-use survey requirements for National Income accounting".

Presentation: Time use surveys for national accounting (2nd presentation, pages 21-38)

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Programmes and resources for analysing time use data

CTUR are making accessible programmes in STATA to help researchers analyse two of our key surveys - the Multinational Time Use Study (MTUS) and Covid-19 time use data series. 

Covid 19 activities

Big changes in daily activities across the course of the UK pandemic; but which of them will stick?

Using a unique representative online time use diary survey, we examine the UK population's behaviour both before, and at five key phases during, the COVID-19 pandemic. A main focus of our analysis is which of the significant changes in activities associated with the pandemic survived the government-defined end of most restrictions on `freedom day' (July 19th 2021). Our data (N7,000 diary days) includes a baseline pre-pandemic survey, conducted in 2016, followed by five subsequent waves coinciding with key moments of pandemic restrictions, including all three lockdowns and two periods of relaxation of restrictions between lockdowns and after the final lockdown.

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New CaDDI/POLYMOD hybrid instrument for use in the modelling of infection

Using the original CaDDI instrument we collected 5 waves of time use diary data across the pandemic period in the UK, including during 3 'lockdowns' and 2 periods of relaxation of restrictions, plus a 2016 baseline (data available from the UKDS core collection, study number 8741).  

Since then, inspired by the 'contact' diaries used for modelling purposes by epidemiologists, we have designed a version of the CaDDI which includes more information on crowding while doing particular activities, or in particular venues, and the age/sex and degree of contact with people respondents report as being 'with them' across their diary days.  The idea is to combine the detailed information on activities of the time use diary (as well as information on location and social interaction) with variables of interest in epidemiological studies in respect of crowding and social contact (as in the POLYMOD 'diary').

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New CTUR 6-wave UK pandemic data deposit

In 2016 CTUR developed an online time use diary; the Click and Drag Diary Instrument (CaDDI), collecting population-representative (quota sample) diary information from Dynata’s large international market research panel across 9 countries. We fielded the same instrument using the UK panel during the COVID-19 pandemic: in May-June 2020 during the first lockdown; in late August 2020 following the relaxation of social restrictions; in November 2020 during the second lockdown; in January 2021 during the third lockdown; and in August/September 2021 after the lifting of restrictions.  The data allows comparison of detailed accounts of population behaviour (activities, location and co-presence) across 3 lockdowns and 2 periods of the relaxation of restrictions.  The complete set of six surveys has now been harmonised and deposited with the UK Data Service archive.

Covid lockdown

Social restrictions and well-being: Disentangling the mechanisms

A wide-ranging public debate surrounds how pandemic lockdown measures differentially
impacted individuals and which precise mechanisms – whether financial-, health-, or policydriven
– predominate in determining these effects. Using a nationally representative 24-hour
diary survey covering the first two years of the pandemic, we explore the mechanisms
underlying changes in well-being. We exploit the variation in the stringency of the social
restrictions implemented by the UK government during this period and use an event-study
methodology to net out the impact of social restrictions from other pandemic effects.


CTUR awarded £1M ESRC grant for 'Time Use Research for National Statistics (TURNS)'

CTUR has been awarded a £1M grant from the ESRC for the project ‘Time Use Research for National Statistics (TURNS), grant reference: ES/V016644/1. The team will be deploying new technologies in the design of time use diary (TUD) surveys, which will contribute both to the development of a new continuous UK time use data collection strategy and to the construction of a consistent system of time-use based social indicators of population health, wealth and wellbeing. An innovative experimental programme for collecting TUD information through online, webapp-based, surveys will be used, and the TUD data collected will provide a new range of time-used based national-level economic and social indicators.

Examining Bahaviour changes

CTUR publishes audio book on 'Examining behavioural changes during Covid-19 lockdowns'

CTUR has just published an outreach audio book on the science communication channel, SciPod. It is based on their research paper, 'Using time use diaries to track changing behaviour across successive stages of Covid-19 social restrictions' published in PNAS.


Time use diaries and the COVID-19 crisis

Now including information on new survey data and links to publications in PNAS (‘Using time use diaries to track changing behavior across successive stages of COVID-19 social restrictions’) and PLOS ONE (‘A new perspective from time use research on the effects of lockdown on COVID-19 behavioral infection risk’).

Access our audio book on this on the Science communication channel SciPod

Read the press release by UCL Institute of Education, UCL

Read the publications in PNAS and PLOS ONE


Using time use diaries to track changing behavior across successive stages of COVID-19 social restrictions (now forthcoming in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA)

We present analyses of 24-hour time use diary records of the UK populations activities, their social context and their location, collected in real time from four successive waves of representative UK samples, both before, and during, the current COVID-19 pandemic. We show changes in behavioral response to social restrictions at three time-points during the pandemic, including across two nationwide lockdowns.

Read the UCL Institute of Education announcement

How do people spend their time

How do people across the world spend their time and what does this tell us about living conditions? - Our World in Data

Sleep, work, eat, leisure – at a high level most of us spend time on similar activities. But just how similar are the daily activities of people across the world? This is something worth considering, not just to serve our curiosity but because differences in the way we spend time give us meaningful perspectives on living conditions, economic opportunities and general well-being.

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An extended report of findings from CTUR’s CAPTURE24 project has now been published in the Journal Sociological Methodology

This study compares self-report diary records of specific days with objective records of the same day constructed from wearable camera and accelerometer evidence. Results strongly supports the use of diary methodology at both the aggregate (sample) and individual levels. It provides evidence that time-use data could be used to complement physical activity questionnaires for providing population-level estimates of physical activity. It also implies new opportunities for investigating techniques for calibrating metabolic equivalent of task (MET) attributions to daily activities using large-scale, population-representative time-use diary studies.    DOI: 10.1177/0081175019884591

Key Research & Publications



How do you spend your time in a day? How many different activities do you do?

Penguin (Pelican series) book

Penguin (Pelican series) book

Publicity for Penguin and Major newspaper coverage which includes a list of media and academic reviews/appearances.

2014-15 UK Time Use Data Survey

UK Time Use Survey 2014-15

UKTUS, collected and managed by CTUR, formed the UK contribution to the Harmonised European Time Use Survey (submitted by the UK Office of National Statistics)

Annual Review of Sociology

The Social Structure of Time: Emerging Trends and New Directions

Annual Review of Sociology by: Benjamin Cornwell, Jonathan Gershuny, and Oriel Sullivan

Almudena Sevilla briefing notes

Almudena Sevilla briefing notes

Briefing Notes on Almudena Sevilla’s involvement with the Institute for Fiscal Studies survey on current Covid-related behaviour and policy issues. Link to piece on this in The Economist (paywall):

Using wearable technology to analyse daily travel behaviour 

Using wearable technology to analyse daily travel behaviour 

Using wearable technology to analyse daily travel behaviour written by Teresa Harms (UCL) Cate Pattison and Doina Olaru (UWA)

View all Research & Publications