To assert the quality of retrospective data, most studies using tools such as life history calendars rely on comparisons with external sources. Our research aimed to integrate quality principles into a life history calendar and test their capacity to evaluate the data quality. The purpose was to avoid reliance on external data sources because of their possible unavailability. The first quality principle was the relationship between the dating accuracy of verifiable events and the data quality of the life domains of the calendar. The second was the certainty, as self-assessed by participants through color coding, that an event took place at the quarter indicated. We designed an experiment using a paper-and-pencil life history calendar that was completed by 104 university students. Our research highlighted the relevance to use the self-assessment of certainty to assert the data quality. However, we could not establish a relationship between the dating accuracy of verifiable events and the data quality of the life domains. In addition, we present a set of qualitative findings from 20 interviews conducted with study participants explaining the approaches used to complete a life calendar and the difficulties encountered.