Skip to main content

Table 1 Summary of the Strengths and Limitations of Simulation as a Research Tool

From: The role of simulation in mixed-methods research: a framework & application to patient safety

Strengths
Can be linked to other patient safety research methods to deepen understanding
Can be used to recreate events that are difficult to observe due to rarity or complexity
The environment is controlled and cases are standardized and reproducible
Hypotheses related to patient safety events can be tested while reducing confounding
Outcomes can be measured using validated tools
Challenges and Limitations
The spectrum of events that can be studied is limited to the fidelity of the mannequins
Technical problems with simulation equipment are possible and can invalidate a study scenario
Technical expertise with the equipment and common simulation problems is needed
Practical Tips for Success
The fidelity of the equipment and environment need to be carefully considered in study design
Scenario fidelity can be greatly enhanced by using trained confederates
Cases should be prepared with the assistance of an experienced simulation technician
Cases should be pilot tested to identify weaknesses in the scenario and equipment