Vignette Analysis: Methodology and Recent Developments

Call for Papers for a Special Issue of Methods, Data, Analyses. Deadline: September 14, 2020

Dr. Lena M. Verneuer (RWTH Aachen University)

Prof. Dr. Stefanie Eifler (Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt)

PD Dr. Hermann Dülmer (University of Cologne)

Vignettes have become an important tool in social science research to measure attitudes, normative judgments, and behavioural intentions. In general, vignettes are fictitious descriptions of a person or situation, which have to be judged or answered by the respondents. Drawing upon different disciplinary traditions, the term ‘vignette analysis’ embraces many different techniques that can be applied within the framework of non-experimental, quasi-experimental and experimental designs. As indirect measures used with non-experimental designs, vignettes allow for emphasizing situational aspects and are seen to solve problems of obtrusiveness and validity of direct measurements. Within the framework of the factorial survey approach, vignettes are combined with experimental designs (full-factorial or fractional). An important strength of factorial surveys is that by implementing them in surveys they allow for combining the high internal validity of experiments with the high external validity of surveys. In contrast to survey designs as they are typical for simple cross-sectional work, factorial surveys are full-fledged experiments and for this reason allow a strict test of causal relationships.

Recently, several methodological challenges related to vignette analyses were addressed. Depending on theoretical and methodological objectives, the applied techniques vary in a broad range and lead to different and sometimes inconsistent results. Due to this diversity, findings on methodological and substantial issues can have different meanings and impacts for further research. Among these are for example the susceptibility of vignettes to social desirability, learning and fatigue effects and effects of order, variation, wording and presentation mode.

Accordingly, the methodological challenges related to vignette analyses present a diverse field of research. This special issue chooses one way of anticipating this and aims at shedding light on the state of affairs by discussing recent developments and pooling new findings of projects that try to enrich the discussion. The focus of the call for papers is explicitly broad, and all contributions dealing with different analytical strategies or empirical designs that make use of factorial surveys or other vignette analyses are welcome. Papers matching one of the following aspects are cordially invited to be part of this special issue:

-        comparison and discussion of design-related questions regarding methodological or substantive aspects,

-        recent developments in measuring intentions with vignettes,

-        theoretical ideas for modelling the relationship between intentions and behaviour for further empirical analyses,

-        cross validation strategies (new approaches, replications),

-        discussion of (dis-)advantages of vignette-designs, validations strategies and/or measures,

-        issues of data-collection,

-        substantive applications of factorial surveys


Submission procedure and timeline

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to the mda special issue on “Vignette Analysis: Methodology and Recent Developments”, please upload your manuscript at

following the guidelines of the mda until September 14, 2020. Guidelines for manuscript preparation can be found in the information for authors:

When submitting the manuscript, please indicate in the field “Comments for the Editor” that this is a manuscript for the Special Issue on “Vignette Analysis: Methodology and Recent Developments”.

Upon submission, manuscripts will be peer-reviewed in accordance with standard journal practice.

Accepted papers will be published Online First before print. The printed special issue will appear in October 2021. Queries about this special issue should be directed to Lena Verneuer at lverneuer(at)soziologie.rwth-aachen(dot)de


The detailed time schedule is as follows:

Deadline for paper submission: September 14, 2020

Decision on the full papers: December, 2020

Deadline for the submission of revised manuscripts: February, 2021

Final decision: April, 2021

Online first publications: May – August 2021

Publication of the Full Paper Special Issue: October 2021


Further information (Link)