Social Indicators Research

, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 255-267

First online:

Review of the Day Reconstruction Method (DRM)

  • Ed DienerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of IllinoisThe Gallup Organization Email author 
  • , Louis TayAffiliated withPurdue University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The Day Reconstruction Method (DRM) for assessing daily experience and subjective well-being is reviewed. The DRM is a promising method as it assesses feelings within situations and activities, and therefore goes beyond asking who is happy to asking when they are happy. The technique might be less burdensome on respondents than experience-sampling, and might reduce memory biases that are inherent in global recall of feelings. However, evidence for the validity and reliability of the DRM is limited and is not entirely supportive. Research is needed on the psychometrics of the DRM, for example by comparing it to mobile phone assessments and other forms of experience-sampling, as well as to global reports of feelings in situations. Conceptual issues with computing overall subjective well-being by weighting a respondent’s activity scores by the time spent in them are discussed. Despite the promises of the DRM, the many unresolved issues with it and the alternative of using on-line electronic experience-sampling techniques suggest that more research is needed before the value of the DRM is established.


Subjective well-being Happiness Affect Measurement Day Reconstruction Method Validity Reliability Ecological momentary assessment Experience sampling