Role-playing as a method in nursing research


Margot Maerkar, School of Nursing Uppsala University, Borjegatan 5A, S-752 24 Uppsala Sweden


This report describes a way in which role-playing can be applied in nursing research The questions investigated were how much the memory capacity is influenced by different methods of providing information, and in what manner objective and comprehensive information about a disease with all its possible consequences is experienced by the recipient To elucidate these questions, 48 healthy persons imagined that they had a chronic disease The study was arranged as a 2 × 2 factorial design, the factors being group information versus individual information about the disease, and provision of the whole information at once versus division of the information into three parts separated by 15 minutes. The information was given orally and a structured interview was consequently conducted After 1 week the subjects were telephoned and were asked to tell the investigator what they remembered about the disease The results showed that the amount and type of information recalled was not affected by the way in which it was given The information in itself, however, had the effect of making the subjects calmer Several parallels between the results of the role-playing study and observations in patients demonstrate that role-playing provides useful knowledge and should be applied to a greater extent in nursing research