Community Views on ‘What I Want Before I Die’

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    Few previous studies have formally examined people’s wishes regarding what they want to do before they die. This study aimed to describe responses to an activity within a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) where people considered what was important when faced with their own mortality. We asked participants to complete the following: “Before I Die, I want to . . .”. The content of participants’ responses (n = 633) was analysed qualitatively with a coding schema developed and then applied. All authors independently coded the first 100 “Before I Die” statements, followed by a second round of coding where themes were verified and confirmed. Following this, two independent raters coded all 633 responses, obtaining 95.24% agreement (Cohen’s Kappa = 0.789, p < 0.0005). Twelve themes emerged from the data: family; do an activity; personal aspiration; live life fully, happiness; love; the greater good; peace; legacy; gratitude; religion; and health. Responses could also be distinguished as being inward-facing (about the self), and outward-facing (about others). Reflecting on what is important and on what a person wishes to achieve or address before they die can be seen as a companion process to advance care planning which addresses what an individual wants to plan to manage their actual death.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number111
    Number of pages10
    JournalBehavioral sciences
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2018


    • Community conversations
    • Death and dying
    • MOOC


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