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Keywords:

  • psychiatric nursing;
  • videotaped recordings;
  • participant observation;
  • data collection method;
  • health services research

Videotaped recording as a method of participant observation in psychiatric nursing research

This paper describes videotaped recording as a data collection method when conducting participant observation in a psychiatric nursing study. The videotaped episodes were part of the daily life of psychiatric nursing in a hospital environment. The advantages and limitations of using videotaped recording in nursing research will be discussed. This paper is based on two studies. The data consisted of 21 videotaped episodes of nursing report sessions or interdisciplinary team meetings in the psychiatric clinic of a university hospital. The participants consisted of patients, their significant others, nurses, doctors, social workers and physiotherapists. All videotaped material was transcribed verbatim. An essential advantage of videotaping is that most potentially useful interaction and behaviour can be captured. The advantage in terms of the credibility of videotaping was that the investigator was able to review the same videotaped situations again and again. Videotaped material is rich and provides several possibilities for analysing the data. In these studies data and source triangulation enabled the researchers to reduce personal influence on the results. The investigator must also be aware of the limitations concerning this method. The most essential limitations are mechanical problems and the influence of videotaping on behaviour. Careful ethical considerations are important concerning personal privacy, informed consent and respect for the self-determination of psychiatric patients.