NLN/Laerdal Research Study

In 2003, the National League for Nursing, through a grant from the Laerdal Medical Corporation, began a three-year, multisite study to explore how to design and implement simulations as a teaching strategy and evaluate selected learning outcomes using simulations.

NLN/Laerdal Research Study Instruments

The Simulation Design Scale (student version), a 20-item instrument using a five-point scale, was designed to evaluate the five design features of the instructor-developed simulations used in the NLN/Laerdal study. The five design features include: 1) objectives/information; 2) support; 3) problem solving; 4) feedback; 5) fidelity. The instrument has two parts: one asks about the presence of specific features in the simulation, the other asks about the importance of those features to the learner.

Content validity was established by ten content experts in simulation development and testing. The instrument's reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha, which was found to be 0.92 for presence of features, and 0.96 for the importance of features.

Educational Practices Questionnaire (student version), a 16-item instrument using a five-point scale, was designed to measure whether four educational practices (active learning, collaboration, diverse ways of learning, and high expectations) are present in the instructor-developed simulation, and the importance of each practice to the learner.

The educational practices were derived from the work of Chickering and Gamson (1987). Reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha. Presence of specific practices = 0.86; importance of specific practices = 0.91

Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning, a 13-item instrument designed to measure student satisfaction (five items) with the simulation activity and self-confidence in learning (eight items) using a five-point scale. Reliability was tested using Cronbach's alpha: satisfaction = 0.94; self-confidence = 0.87

Note: More large valid studies are still needed, along with analyses of how these instruments correlate with other available tools and commonly used scales.

The NLN/Laerdal Research Study Instruments are now available on the NLN website for individual researchers to download for non commercial use.

Use of NLN Surveys and Research Instruments

The NLN's copyrighted surveys and research instruments are an important part of its research activities. Permission to use NLN surveys or instruments for nursing education research is usually granted free of charge to NLN members. Non-members and those seeking permission to use surveys for commercial purposes or for republication in materials sold for profit may be charged a fee.

In most instances, applicants will receive notification of the status of their request and any applicable fees within two weeks of receipt of their application form. All applicable fees must be paid before survey or instrument materials will be shipped.


  1. It is the sole responsibility of the researcher to determine whether the NLN questionnaire is appropriate to her or his particular study.
  2. Modifications to a survey may affect the reliability and/or validity of results. Any modifications made to a survey are the sole responsibility of the researcher.
  3. When published or printed, any research findings produced using an NLN survey must be properly cited. If the content of the NLN survey was modified in any way, this must also be clearly indicated in the text, footnotes and endnotes of all materials where findings are published or printed.

SIRC Annotated Bibliography

The SIRC Annotated Bibliography comprises many research-based articles about simulation.

SIRC Glossary

The SIRC Glossary contains definitions of terms that have been cited in the Standards developed by the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) and elsewhere.

INACSL Simulation Standards

International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) has developed Standards of Best Practice: Simulation that may be useful for your research projects.

NLN Research in Nursing Education Grants Program

Awarded annually to members, NLN research grants actively promote rigorous and robust studies that utilize multi-method, multi-site designs.

Last modified: Monday, November 2, 2015, 10:08 AM