Table 3

Key elements to report for simulation-based research

Elements*Subelements†Descriptor
Participant orientationOrientation to the simulatorDescribe how participants were oriented to the simulator (eg, method, content, duration).
Orientation to the environmentDescribe how participants were oriented to the environment (eg, method, content, duration).
Simulator type16Simulator make and modelDescribe the simulator make and model.
Simulator functionalityDescribe functionality and/or technical specifications that are relevant to the research question. Describe modifications, if any. Describe limitations of the simulator.
Simulation environment16LocationDescribe where the simulation was conducted (eg, in situ clinical environment, simulation centre, etc)
EquipmentDescribe the nature of the equipment available (eg, type, amount, location, size, etc)
External stimuliDescribe any external stimuli (eg, background noise)
Simulation event/scenario16Event descriptionDescribe if the event was programmed and/or scripted (eg, orientation to event, scenario progression, triggers). If a scenario was used, the scenario script should be provided as an appendix.
Learning objectivesList the learning objectives and describe how they were incorporated into the event
Group vs individual practiceDescribe if the simulation was conducted in groups or as individuals.
Use of adjunctsDescribe if adjuncts (eg, moulage, media, props) were used.
Facilitator/operator characteristicsDescribe experience (eg, clinical, educational), training (eg, fellowship, courses) and profession.
Pilot testingDescribe if pilot testing was conducted (eg, number, duration, frequency).
Actors/confederates/standardised/simulated patients16Describe experience (eg, clinical, educational), training (eg, fellowship, courses), profession and gender. Describe various roles, including training, scripting, orientation, and compliance with roles.
Instructional design (for educational interventions)19 or exposure (for simulation as investigative methodology)16DurationDescribe the duration of the educational intervention. If the intervention involves more than one segment, describe the duration of each segment.
TimingDescribe the timing of the educational intervention relative to the time when assessment/data collection occurs (eg, just-in-time training).
Frequency/repetitionsDescribe how many repetitions were permitted and/or the frequency of training (eg, deliberate practice).
Clinical variationDescribe the variation in clinical context (eg, multiple different patient scenarios).
Standards/assessmentDescribe predefined standards for participant performance (eg, mastery learning) and how these standards were established.
Adaptability of interventionDescribe how the training was responsive to individual learner needs (eg, individualised learning).
Range of difficultyDescribe the variation in difficulty or complexity of the task.
Non-simulation interventions and adjunctsDescribe all other non-simulation interventions (eg, lecture, small group discussion) or educational adjuncts (eg, educational video), how they were used, and when they were used relative to the simulation intervention.
IntegrationDescribe how the intervention was integrated into curriculum.
Feedback and/or debriefing11SourceDescribe the source of feedback (eg, computer, simulator, facilitator).
DurationDescribe the amount of time spent.
Facilitator presence
Facilitator characteristics
Describe if a facilitator was present (yes/no), and if so, how many facilitators.
Describe experience (eg, clinical, educational), training (eg, fellowship, courses), profession and gender.
ContentDescribe content (eg, teamwork, clinical, technical skills and/or inclusion of quantitative data).
Structure/methodDescribe the method of debriefing/feedback and debriefing framework used (ie, phases).
TimingDescribe when the feedback and/or debriefing was conducted relative to the simulation event (eg, terminal vs concurrent).
VideoDescribe if video was used (yes/no), and how it was used.
ScriptingDescribe if a script was used (yes/no) and provide script details as an appendix.
  • *These elements may apply to the simulation intervention (eg, randomised control trial (RCT) or observational study with simulation as an educational intervention) or when simulation is the environment for research (eg, RCT or observational study using simulation as an investigative methodology). Elements should be described in sufficient detail to permit replication.

  • †Description required only if applicable.