Pilot studies are more commonly associated with quantitative research, and their use is under-reported in qualitative approaches. This paper discusses the value of undertaking a pilot study in a doctoral research project to examine nursing students’ understanding of recovery in mental health by adopting what is called a phenomenographic approach, which in research is concerned with the variation in how particular phenomena are experienced.
To explore the usefulness of three different methods of collecting data – interviewing, completed exam papers and a written response to a scenario – and the
Methodological issues experienced during the collection and analysis of data in the project are discussed.
The pilot study provided an opportunity for valuable insights to be gained into the methodological issues related to phenomenography and to revise the research plan for the larger study.
While it may not be generalised to other qualitative studies, this paper may help others undertaking studies that adopt this approach and points to the general value of pilot studies in qualitative research.
Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2016.e1444Correspondence
This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software
Received: 03 November 2015
Accepted: 03 March 2016
Published online: 05 August 2016
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