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Conducting the pilot study: A neglected part of the research process? Methodological findings supporting the importance of piloting in qualitative research studies
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Learning Practices inside and outside School (LPS), Communication, Culture & Diversity @ JU (CCD@JU). Linnaeus University, Växjö–Kalmar, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8598-3365
Linnaeus University, Växjö–Kalmar, Sweden.
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Learning Practices inside and outside School (LPS), Communication, Culture & Diversity @ JU (CCD@JU).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7823-557X
University of Northampton, United Kingdom.
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2019 (English)In: International Journal of Qualitative Methods, ISSN 1609-4069, E-ISSN 1609-4069, Vol. 18, article id 1609406919878341Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

During the development of research to compare the processes and impact of inclusive education in Sweden with results obtained from a study undertaken in Ireland, a pilot study was conducted and documented. The pilot study had three aims: (1) to gather data to provide guidance for a substantive study adapted to Swedish conditions through modification of Irish research procedures and instruments, (2) to critically interrogate how we as researchers could most effectively conduct a pilot study utilizing observational and video-recorded data, and (3) to use the Irish theoretical model as a tool of analysis for studying inclusion in two Swedish schools. Although pilot studies are frequently conducted to assess the efficacy of research instruments for use in qualitative research projects, few publications have drawn upon empirical findings related to such studies. Additionally, while methodological texts recommend the use of pilot studies in qualitative research, there is a lack of reported research focusing on how to conduct such pilot studies. We argue that our methodological findings may contribute to greater awareness of the important role that a pilot study may have for full-scale qualitative research projects, for example, in case study research where semi-structured qualitative interviews are used. This argument is based on the assumption that researchers, and especially novice researchers, having conducted a pilot study will be better informed and prepared to face the challenges that are likely to arise in the substantive study and more confident in the instruments to be used for data collection. A proper analysis of the procedures and results from the pilot study facilitates the identification of weaknesses that may be addressed. A carefully organized and managed pilot study has the potential to increase the quality of the research as results from such studies can inform subsequent parts of the research process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2019. Vol. 18, article id 1609406919878341
Keywords [en]
case study, methods in qualitative inquiry, qualitative evaluation, interpretive description, mixed methods
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-46529DOI: 10.1177/1609406919878341ISI: 000487795400001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85073061865Local ID: HLK GOA 2019;HLKLPSISOAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-46529DiVA, id: diva2:1360072
Available from: 2019-10-11 Created: 2019-10-11 Last updated: 2019-10-25Bibliographically approved

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Malmqvist, JohanMöllås, Gunvie

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