Background: Video stimulated recall (VSR) is a method of enhancing participants' accounts of the consultation using a video recording of the event to encourage and prompt recall in a post consultation interview. VSR is used in education and education research, and to a lesser extent in medical and nursing research. Little is known about the sort of research questions that lend themselves best to the use of VSR or the impact of the specific VSR procedure on study quality. This systematic review describes studies in primary care that have used the method and aims to identify the strengths, weaknesses and role of VSR.
Methods: A systematic literature search has been conducted to identify primary care consultation research using VSR. Two authors undertook data extraction and quality appraisal of identified papers and a narrative synthesis has been conducted to draw together the findings. In addition, theory on classifying VSR procedures derived from other disciplines is used as a lens through which to assess the relevance of VSR technique.
Results: Twenty eight publications were identified that reported VSR in primary care doctor-patient consultation research. VSR was identified as a useful method to explore specific events within the consultation, mundane or routine occurrences, non-spoken events and appears to particularly add value to doctor's post consultation accounts. However, studies frequently had insufficient description of methods to properly evaluate both the quality of the study, and the influence of VSR technique on findings.
Conclusions: VSR is particularly useful for study of specific consultation events when a 'within case' approach is used in analysis, comparing and contrasting findings from the consultation and post-consultation interview. Alignment of the choice of VSR procedure and sampling to the study research question was established as particularly important in the quality of studies. Future researchers may consider the role of process evaluation to understand further the impact of research design on data yielded and the acceptability of the method to participants.