Vignette development and administration: A framework for protecting research participants

Caroline Bradbury-Jones, Julie Taylor, O.R Herber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper is a discussion regarding vignette development and administration as a means of protecting research participants in social research. Health and social care researchers investigate a plethora of issues that may be sensitive or upsetting, for example, abuse or bereavement. This exposes participants to potential emotional harm caused by revisiting the original trauma. Using research methods that offer a protective layer is important. Evidence suggests that vignettes provide protection for research participants by placing distance between their experience and that of the vignette character. However, there are few methodological papers regarding vignette use. Utilising examples from our own research, we engage in a critical discussion regarding vignette development and administration. The paper offers a new framework to support researchers – particularly those in health and social care – in the development and administration of vignettes. We contend that the framework supports best practice in vignette use, particularly when researching sensitive issues.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Social Research Methodology
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Research methods
  • Sensitive issues
  • Vignettes


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