The researchers developed a questionnaire evaluating how people responded to information that they received about the occurrence of a medical error. First, a short description of the facts and outcome of an error was presented along with a description of what the doctor said. The type of error, severity of its outcome, and completeness of the doctor's explanation varied in each description. Only 1 clinical story was presented to each study participant. They were asked to imagine themselves as the patient or the patient's family as they answered several questions about how the doctor's presentation would have affected their relationship to the doctor. The questions tried to determine whether the doctor's explanation would have prompted the patient to switch care to another doctor or seek legal advice, whether they would have been satisfied with the explanation, whether it would have changed the patient's level of trust in the doctor, and what their emotional response to the explanation would have been.