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Table 1 Components of SR procedure and theoretical effect on outcome (adapted from Gass and Mackey [7])

From: Getting under the skin of the primary care consultation using video stimulated recall: a systematic review



Time between video recorded event and SR

Participant recall of events will be greater immediately after the interview.

Strength of stimulus

Video is an example of a strong stimulus, but the strength of stimulus may be increased still further by additional stimulus for recall e.g. transcripts of consultation. The greater strength of stimulus, the more enhanced the recall will be.

Procedural structure of accompanying interview

A structured interview is an example of high procedural structure and will result in more specific information relative to the research question.

A low structure approach would involve minimal questioning and the use only of neutral prompts during playback e.g. “what were you thinking then?”. This method may be more suitable where the research question concerns cognitive processes at the time of the interview and is less likely to result in researcher contamination.

Initiation of recall event

The researcher may lead recall by asking the participant to comment on areas of interest to the researcher, or the participant may be asked to comment on aspects of their choice. Again, researcher initiated events may encourage more reflection than recall alone.

Relationship between video recorded event and line of inquiry

During a VSR interview, a participant may be questioned only on events that occurred during the video, described as a ‘concrete relationship to action’. However, they may be asked to abstract to other general events, an example of a ‘non-specific relationship to action’. In this instance, their recall may not be as great.

Participant training

Participants may need training and practice if asked to comment on stimulus in an unstructured way. Training may enhance a participant’s ability to reflect on observed events.