Using "Think Aloud" to capture clinical reasoning during patient simulation

Beth E Burbach, Susan Barnason, Sarah A. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Think Aloud (TA), a strategy in which subjects are instructed to verbalize thoughts as they occur while completing an assigned task, was integrated into a study of clinical reasoning during high fidelity patient simulation by baccalaureate nursing students. TA methods in nursing education research with patient simulation have not previously been reported. Concurrent TA (verbalization of thoughts in short-term memory) and retrospective TA (reflective thoughts verbalized during an immediate post-simulation interview) methods facilitated the collection of rich and meaningful data. Students demonstrated distinct patterns in verbalization during concurrent TA, including public and private thoughts, narration of care, and the use of the pause to facilitate clinical reasoning. Retrospective TA data provided rich descriptions of reflection-on-action. TA provides a rich source of data regarding clinical reasoning as experienced by the baccalaureate nursing student during high fidelity patient simulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of nursing education scholarship
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Clinical reasoning
  • Nursing education
  • Research method
  • Think Aloud

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing
  • Education


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