How was your day? Exploring a day in the life of probation workers across Europe using practice diaries
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This article presents a reflection upon the preliminary analysis of diary research conducted during the period 2014–2015 in five European countries (England, France, Norway, Romania and Slovakia). The authors gathered and analysed data from a pilot project that used semi-structured diaries to generate data on probation workers’ daily lives with a view to understanding ‘a day in the life’ of probation officers across jurisdictions. The findings open up questions in relation to diary research in probation practice (diary format, follow-up interview, etc.) and we use this article to discuss the relative advantages and benefits of using diary research in this area. We conclude with the argument that diaries as a method of social research hold considerable potential for conducting research in the context of probation but acknowledge that the method we employed requires some development and greater clarification in terms of the aims of the research.