Aim: The aim of this paper is to review the potential for, and the limitations of, the use of vignettes in research that seeks an understanding of people's attitudes, perceptions and beliefs, particularly with regard to sensitive subjects such as health care.
Background: Vignettes, in the form of text or pictures presented to research participants to prompt responses to interview questions, are widely used throughout the social sciences although their use in nursing research is less developed. REVIEW FOCUS: This review paper begins by addressing the differences between vignettes and real life processes. The following sections explore some of the practical advantages and pitfalls of using vignettes in social and nursing research.
Conclusion: The paper demonstrates how vignettes can be very useful research tools yielding valuable data when studying people's attitudes, perceptions and beliefs in social and nursing research.