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The Use of Vignettes in Qualitative Research

by Christine Barter, Emma Renold
Social Research Update ()

Abstract

Vignettes may be used for three main purposes in social research: to allow actions in context to be explored; to clarify people’s judgements; and to provide a less personal and therefore less threatening way of exploring sensitive topics. In qualitative research, vignettes enable participants to define the situation in their own terms. A number of guidelines on how to use vignettes effectively can be distilled from the literature and these are listed and explained in this Update.

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