Weakly ionized plasmas at or near 1atm pressure, or atmospheric-pressure plasmas, have received increasing attention due to their scientific significance and potential for use in a variety of applications, particularly for medicine, agriculture, and food. However, there is a large imbalance between scientific research on plasma physics and applications, which is partly due to the considerable differences in the characteristics of these plasmas compared with those of low-pressure plasmas. This discrepancy is particularly related to the difficulty in performing plasma diagnostics for highly collisional plasmas. Information on electrons (such as the electron density and temperature) is essential since electrons play a dominant role in the generation of active species related to the physical and chemical processes inside the plasma. So far, limited diagnostics have been available for electrons such as Thomson scattering and optical emission diagnostics based on equilibrium models. Here, we review the available diagnostic methods along with their merits and limitations for characterizing electrons in weakly ionized collisional plasmas. Particular attention is paid to continuum radiation-based spectroscopy, which facilitates multidimensional imaging of electron density and temperature. The future impact of these plasmas on relevant fields (i.e. laboratory and industrial plasmas and their applications) is also addressed.