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Open Access Open Badges Original research article

Pilot study: evaluation of the use of the convergent interview technique in understanding the perception of surgical design and simulation

Heather Logan1*, Johan Wolfaardt1, Pierre Boulanger2, Bill Hodgetts3 and Hadi Seikaly4

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine, Misericordia Community Hospital Edmonton, 1W-02, 16940-87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB T5R 4H5, Canada

2 Department of Computing Science, University of Alberta, Athabasca Hall, Room 411, Edmonton, AB T6G 2E8, Canada

3 Speech Pathology and Audiology, 2–16, Corbett Hall Edmonton, University of Alberta, 116 St. and 85 Ave, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G4, Canada

4 Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, 8440 - 112th Street, 1E4.34 WMC, Edmonton, AB T6G 2B7, Canada

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Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery 2013, 42:40  doi:10.1186/1916-0216-42-40

Published: 19 June 2013



It is important to understand the perceived value of surgical design and simulation (SDS) amongst surgeons, as this will influence its implementation in clinical settings. The purpose of the present study was to examine the application of the convergent interview technique in the field of surgical design and simulation and evaluate whether the technique would uncover new perceptions of virtual surgical planning (VSP) and medical models not discovered by other qualitative case-based techniques.


Five surgeons were asked to participate in the study. Each participant was interviewed following the convergent interview technique. After each interview, the interviewer interpreted the information by seeking agreements and disagreements among the interviewees in order to understand the key concepts in the field of SDS.


Fifteen important issues were extracted from the convergent interviews.


In general, the convergent interview was an effective technique in collecting information about the perception of clinicians. The study identified three areas where the technique could be improved upon for future studies in the SDS field.

Convergent interview technique; Surgical design and simulation; Medical models; Head and neck reconstruction