Developing and administering scripted video vignettes for experimental research of patient-provider communication

Patient Educ Couns. 2013 Jun;91(3):295-309. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2013.01.020. Epub 2013 Feb 19.


Objective: Scripted video-vignette studies enable experimental investigation of specific elements of patient-provider communication, separating cause and effect. However, scripted video vignettes are infrequently used to this end. Resultantly, few guidelines are available for their design, development and administration. We aim to suggest guidelines enabling more informed decisions when designing and conducting these studies.

Methods: Based on the available methodological literature, we discuss methodological considerations when developing and administering scripted video vignettes.

Results: Developing and using valid video vignettes requires: (I) deciding if using video vignettes is appropriate, (II) developing a valid script, (III) designing valid manipulations, (IV) converting the scripted consultation to video, and (V) administering the videos. We provide a first checklist of the methodological considerations in each phase. Advantages and pitfalls of possible approaches are discussed.

Conclusions: No 'gold standard' exists for most methodological issues, as literature testing the consequences of different approaches is lacking. The best approach when developing and implementing video vignettes depends upon the aims and practical limitations of a particular study.

Practice implications: Our checklist may serve as a starting point for further study of scripted video vignettes methodology. More detailed methodological reporting would yield new knowledge, thus allowing the research field to progress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Video Recording*