Scenarios in HIV/AIDS prevention research: Insights from literature and research in Botswana


The difficulties in communication about sexuality-related matters in HIV prevention require appropriate research approaches. Scenarios can be useful in qualitative, quantitative research methods and interventions related to sensitive cognitive issues of human sexuality. This paper presents an analysis of the use of scenarios in HIV/AIDS prevention research from the literature and empirical evidence. Examples of scenario-based instrument development research studies in safer sex communication for the prevention of HIV/AID by Kalichman (2000) and Magowe (2006) are provided. A computer-based search of articles addressing the use of case scenarios in research was conducted on Google and Google scholar, using the following search terms: “case scenarios”, “scenarios in research”, case scenarios in safer sex negotiation: “case scenarios in safer sex communication”, “case scenarios in dyadic communication”, “partner communication”, “case research”, “vignettes in HIV/AIDS research”, and, “sexuality related vignettes”. Papers included provided the definition, purpose, components, types of scenarios, use of scenarios in safer sex communication. Examples are drawn from instruments development studies using with case scenarios. Twenty-nine documents were retrieved, and eight of these studies addressed the use of scenarios in research. Five studies were specifically on HIV prevention research, focusing on safer sex communication, negotiation or couple/partner communication. The content of the studies included the definition of scenarios, case scenarios and vignettes; purpose and use of scenarios in research. Studies showed that scenarios are useful in qualitative elicitation of themes and content for instrument development for further quantitative research. Nursing deals with sensitive and complex cognitive issues in human behavior, and therefore scenario-based research can help develop personoriented research and interventions while protecting the individual’s privacy and confidentiality.

Share and Cite:

Magowe, M. (2013) Scenarios in HIV/AIDS prevention research: Insights from literature and research in Botswana. Open Journal of Nursing, 3, 76-85. doi: 10.4236/ojn.2013.31010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Wong, K.H. and Lee, S.S. (1996) Maintaining low HIV sero-prevalence among injecting drug users. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 275, 596. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530320020024
[2] Kimberly, J.A. and Serovich, J.M. (1999) The role of family and friend social support in reducing risk behaviors among HIV-positive gay men. AIDS Education and Prevention, 11, 465-475.
[3] DiClemente, R. (1991) Predictors of HIV prevention behavior in at risk adolescent population: the influence of perceived power norms and sexual communication on incarcerated adolescents’ consistent use of condoms. Journal of Adolescent Health, 12, 385-390. doi:10.1016/0197-0070(91)90052-N
[4] Catania, J., Coates, T., Kegels, S., Thompson-Fullilove, M., Peterson, J., Marin, B., Siegel, D. and Hulley, S. (1992) Condom use in multi-ethnic neighborhoods of San Francisco: The population-based AMEN (AIDS in multiethnic neighborhoods) study. American Journal of Public Health, 82, 284-287. doi:10.2105/AJPH.82.2.284
[5] Malow, R.M., Corrigan, S.A., Canningham, S.C., West, J.A. and Penna, J.M. (1993) Psychosocial factors associated with condom use among African-American drug abusers in treatment. AIDS Education and Prevention, 5, 244-253.
[6] Catania, J., Coates, T., Golden, E., Dolcini, M. Peterson, J., Kegels, S., Siegel, D. and Fullilove, M. (1994) Correlates of condom use among black, Hispanic, and white heterosexuals in San Francisco: The AMEN l survey. AIDS Education and Prevention, 6, 12-26.
[7] Rickman, R.L., Lodico, M., DiClemente, R., et al. (1994) Sexual communication is associated with incarcerated adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 15, 383-388. doi:10.1016/1054-139X(94)90261-5
[8] Sheahan, S.L., Coons, S.J., Seabolt, J.P., Churchill, L. and Dale, T. (1994) Sexual behavior, communication: Communication, and chlamydial infections among college women. Health Care for Women International, 15, 275286. doi:10.1080/07399339409516120
[9] DiIorio, C., Duddley, W.N., Lehr, S. and Soet, J. (2000) Correlates of safer sex communication among college students. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32, 658-665. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2000.01525.x
[10] Soler, H., Quadagno, D., Sly, D.F., Riehman, K.S., Eberstein, I.W. and Harrison, D.H. (2000) Relationship dynamics, ethnicity and condom use among low-income women. Family Planning Perspectives, 32, 82-88. doi:10.2307/2648216
[11] Ranta M., Asplund, H., Saarinen, T. and Sahi, S. (2003) Scenarios and use cases in innovation prototyping of VHO play.
[12] Swart, R.J., Raskin, P. and Robison, J. (2004) The problem of the future: sustainability science and scenario analysis. Global Environmental Change, 14, 137-146. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2003.10.002
[13] Mietzner, D. and Reger, G. (2004) Scenario approacheshistory, advantages and disadvantages. EU Seminar: New Technologies Foresight, Forecasting & Assessment-Seville, 13-14 May 2004, 48, 61.
[14] Carroll, J.M. (1995) The scenario perspective on system development. In: Carroll, J.M., Eds., Scenario-Based Design: Envisioning Work and Technology in System Development, John Wiley, New York, 1-18.
[15] Jarke, M. (1999) CREWS Report 00-09: CREWS: Towards systematic usage of scenarios, use case studies and scenes.
[16] Hankel, O., Jakewitz, I., Pape, B. and Straus, M. (2003) Technical and Didactical Scenarios of student-centered teaching and learning. WISSPRO, S411-419.
[17] Muller, J., Creed, P.A., Waters, L. and Machin, M.A. (2000) A new scale to measure the latent functions of employment. Poster presented at the XXV11 International Congress of Psychology, Stockholm, 23-28 July.
[18] Urquhart, C. (2001) Bridging information requirements and information needs assessment: Do scenarios and vignettes provide a link? Information Research, 6,
[19] Anderson, H.H. and Anderson, G.L. (1951) An introduction to projective techniques and other devices for understanding human behavior. Englewood Cliffs, Prentice Hall.
[20] Lim, Y. and Sato, K. (2003) Encoding scenarios with design information framework for the generation of multiple aspect models for system implementation. Proceedings of the 7th World Multi-conferences on Systematics, Cybernetics and Informatics, Orlando, July 2003, 7.
[21] Herskovits, M.J. (1950) The hypothetical situation: A technique of field research. Southern Journal of Anthropology, 6, 32-40.
[22] Gould, D. (1996) Using vignettes to collect data for nursing research studies: How valid are the findings? Journal of clinical Nursing, 5, 207-212. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2702.1996.tb00253.x
[23] Ross, S., Moffat, K., McConnachie, A., Gordon, J. and Wilson, P. (1999) Sex and attitude: A randomized vignette study of the management of depression by general practitioners. British Journal of General Practice, 41, 17-21.
[24] Loveman, E. and Gale, A. (2000) Factors influencing the nurses’ inferences about labeling. Sociological Quarterly, 17, 555-560.
[25] Hughes, R. and Huby, M. (2002) The application of vignettes in social and nursing research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37, 382-386. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.2002.02100.x
[26] Schwartz, P. (1996) The art of long view. Doubleday, New York, 1996.
[27] von Reibnitz, U. (1988) Scenario techniques. McGrawHill, Hamburg.
[28] Schwab, P., Ceruti, F. and von Reibnitz, C. (2003) Foresight-using scenarios to shape the future of agriculture research. Foresight, 5, 55-61. doi:10.1108/14636680310471299
[29] Rapaport, K., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J., Hussein, S., Harris, J. and Martineau, S. (2008) Weighing the evidence: The case for using vignettes to elicit public and practitioner views of the workings of POVA vetting. The Journal of Adult Protection, 10, 6-17. doi:10.1108/14668203200800008
[30] Godet, M. (1987) Scenarios and strategic management. Butterworth, London.
[31] Godet, M. and Roubelat, F. (1996) Creating the future. Long Range Planning, 29, 164-171. doi:10.1016/0024-6301(96)00004-0
[32] Kalichman, S.C. Rompa, D. DiFonzo, K., Simpson, D. Kyomugisha, F., Austin, J. and Luke, W. (2001) Initial development of scales to assess self-efficacy for disclosing HIV status and negotiating safer sex in HIV+ persons. AIDS & Behavior, 5, 291-296. doi:10.1023/A:1011300912395
[33] Bandura, A. (1995) Self-efficacy in changing societies. Cambridge University Press, New York. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511527692
[34] Forsyth, A.D. and Carey, M.P. (1998) Measuring Selfefficacy in the context of HIV risk reduction: Research challenges and recommendation. American Psychological Association, 17, 559-568.
[35] Maibach, E. and Murphy, D. (1995) Self-efficacy in health promotion research and practice: Conceptualization and measurement. Health Education Research, 10, 37-50. doi:10.1093/her/10.1.37
[36] Magowe, M.K.M. (2006) A qualitative study on beliefs and perceptions about health protective sexual communication among young women aged 18 35 years, attending services at Gaborone city council clinics. Unpublished research report.
[37] Sandelowski, M. (2000) Focus on research methods: Whatever happened to qualitative description? Research in Nursing and Health, 23, 334-340. doi:10.1002/1098-240X(200008)23:4<334::AID-NUR9>3.0.CO;2-G
[38] Parish, K.L., Cotton, D., Huszti, H.C. and Parsons, J.T. (2001) The hemophilia behavioral intervention evaluation group. Hemophilia, 7, 72-81. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2516.2001.00459.x
[39] Nuss, R., Smith, P.S., Cotton, D. and Kister, T. (1995) Communication about safer sex and serostatus disclosure in HIV positive adolescents with haemophilia. Haemophilia, 1, 126-130. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2516.1995.tb00053.x
[40] Janneke, H.H.M., van de Wijgert, A., Khumalo-Sakutukwa, G.N., Coggins, C., Dube, S.E., Nyamapfeni, P., Mwale M. and Padian, N.S. (1999) Men’s attitudes towards vaginal microbicides and microbicide trials in Zimbabwe. International Family Planning Perspectives, 25, 15-20. doi:10.2307/2991897
[41] Svenson, G.R. and Hanson, B.S. (1998) Are peer and social influences important components to include in HIV-STD prevention models? European Journal of Public Health, 6, 203-211. doi:10.1093/eurpub/6.3.203
[42] Huszti, J.T., Parsons, D., Cotton, J., Mendoza, L., Harlow, K.L., Parish, L., Rich, R., Nuss, R. and Riske, B. (1998) Determinants of safer sex behavior in a long-term HIV infected population a national survey of men with hemophilia and HIV infection. Journal of Health Psychology, 3, 507-522. doi:10.1177/135910539800300405
[43] Crowell, T.L. (2004) Seropositive individuals’ willingness to communicate, self-efficacy, and assertiveness prior to HIV infection. Journal of Health Education, 9, 394-424.
[44] Troth, A. and Peterson, C.C. (2000) Factors predicting safer sex talk and condom use in nearly sexual relationships. Health Communication, 12, 195-218. doi:10.1207/S15327027HC1202_5
[45] Cottrell, L., Li, X., Stanton, B., Harris, C., D’Alessandri, D., Sun, Z., Qu, M., Mao, R. and Zhang, H. (2006) Perceptions regarding preventive sexual practices and communication with sexual partners among Chinese college students. Preventive Medicine, 40, 189-196. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.05.019
[46] Moore, J.S., Harrison, J.S., Kay, K., Deren, S. and Doll, LS. (1995) Factors associated with Hispanic women’s HIV-related communication and condom use with male partners. AIDS Care, 7, 415-427. doi:10.1080/09540129550126371

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.