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  • 00:11

    EVA MIKUSKA: My name is Eva Mikuskaand I'm a senior lecturer at University of Chichester.I am teaching research methods for undergraduate students.Today I will talk about the importanceof piloting your ideas and research before you'reconducting the main research.I will introduce the case I was doingas part of my doctoral research, and I

  • 00:32

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: will reflect on my research, how I've done it,and what went well and what went wrong.My research was based on the earliest practitionerswho were already working, but also who

  • 00:53

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: wanted to study further.So the participants were my own students.And that was very interesting pointbecause I was talking to my students about my project,that I was very interested on their professional identityand interested about how the university study actually

  • 01:15

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: shapes their identity or doesn't shape their identity.And as part of the research, theywere participants who wanted to participate into my research.So that means that in terms of sampling,I haven't had to go out and search for participants.

  • 01:36

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: It was given to me.But it has some advantages but also some drawbacks.The pilot study was part of the program I was doing.And it was suggested by some researchersthat it's important because it may shape the main study.With very little written about the importance of the pilot

  • 01:58

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: study, I found it extremely importantand crucial part of the research process itselfbecause you can learn from the process about the participants,about your topic, and not least, about yourself.For example, since the participantswere earlier practitioners and my background is an earlier

  • 02:20

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: practitioner, therefore it would have been very hard,and it was very hard for me, to detach from the knowledge Ialready have.For example, when the participants were talking,I already has some assumptions about whata practice is, what a professional practice should

  • 02:40

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: look like.And it was hard for me to detach from what they were saying.Because I was concentrating on myself, on my knowledge,I lost the momentum to really lookinto what they were saying.Therefore, it was extremely important to record

  • 03:02

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: what they were saying.If you can video the interview process,it is absolutely a very good idea.However, I'm aware of that it couldhave some ethical considerations or ethical implications.Unless you study, for example, the body language,or unless you have something to dowith the visual elements of the interview process,

  • 03:24

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: it's very difficult to get ethical approval.However, voice recording is equally importantbecause you may lose some important informationparticipants were telling you.

  • 03:45

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: When you are conducting the interview,I was using some structured interviews,so therefore semi-structured interviewmeans that I already thought about the topics,already thought about my research questions,and already thought about what may my participants goingto say.

  • 04:05

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: The interview schedule was written,and I always brought it with me.And in fact, I gave it to my participantsas well, which turned out as good practicebecause the participants were equallynervous before and during the interview.And by knowing which questions I'm going to ask,

  • 04:27

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: it eased the situation between the participants and myself.It is also important to mention that once you're interviewing,it's not only the participants who are nervous.The interviewee or so has some nerves.Therefore, it's becoming a very interesting and very nervous

  • 04:48

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: start.Therefore, the interview scheduleis very important for you to know which questions you wantedto ask, not to miss something, and to even write downwhich kind of probing questions you would like to ask.Because once you are nervous, you may forget these.

  • 05:08

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: When I gave out the interview questions, it was all very goodand it was a settling process.However, when I took my microphone outand it was nicely put on a table,and when I said to the participants,now I'm going to switch it on, suddenly the participantsstarted to be nervous, and suddenlythe different tone of the voice appeared.

  • 05:31

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: Therefore, it is just a time, so probably the first fiveor 10 minutes, I would suggest youto ask some generic questions such as,can you tell me about your role?Can you tell me about your reason why you chose the study?Something which is no wrong answer.

  • 05:52

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: Whatever the participants are saying, it's always correct,it's always good.And then you can go into the nitty-gritty,and then you can get into the discussion or evena conversation.I would also say that not every participant will answerthe questions in the same way.

  • 06:12

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: Some participants are talkative, other participantswere less talkative.Therefore, the interview schedulecomes to help again because you can ask the same questionsdifferent ways.You can form the questions in different ways,make it easier for the participants to answer.You also need to be aware of unexpected noises.

  • 06:36

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: For example, I organized an interview in a quiet place,as the literature suggested, in a university library.And it went all fine up until the studentscame in and recognized my face, and came not realizingthat it's an interview process and started to talk to me.

  • 06:56

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: And then I said, well, it's the book, I taught her.And then she walked away.But then the participant and the whole conversationwas actually-- we talked about being stopped and beingdistracted.Therefore, I had to ask the question again.We had to go back again from the beginning.

  • 07:18

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: And it was very hard to go back into the same mindsetwe were before.Additionally, noise can be done as well.For example, it also happened to me that two friends came inand they would giggle behind a bookshelf.Therefore, you just need to be absolutely aware ofand be prepared that these are some cases which is unexpected

  • 07:40

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: that you can not plan for.Reflecting on my research, I found extremely usefulthe field notes I was making after each interview.I know that it's a tedious work.And I know that it's time consuming.But I would advise everybody who is conducting

  • 08:03

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: qualitative interviews or qualitative researchto have the field note with them,so you can record all your feelings,and you can record how you feel the interview went.And you can also record your own expectation,your own reflexivity, your own suggestions and thoughts

  • 08:23

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: after doing interviews.Once you conducted one or two or even three interviews,it is not that necessary.But once you had 20 or 25 interviews,they all started to mix up and youstart to forget who said what.Therefore, these notes become a crucial part

  • 08:47

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: of the data analysis process.When you can go back, you can reflectwho you interviewed, when, what it was said, how it was said,and how you reflected upon.What was also important to note that quite often it happened,it happened to me, that once the interview finished,

  • 09:11

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: I switched off the recorder, and the participantstarted to talk.And the conversation carried on.And in fact, very interesting thing came up.So what I've done after it happened to me, that I asked--

  • 09:31

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: if it happened next to me, I went backand I asked the participant, is it OKif I switch on the recording again?And once they agreed, then I carried on the conversation.If your participant is a talkative participantand you get into the conversation,you may find once you are really listening your data,

  • 09:55

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: that you forgot the prompt or you missed golden opportunitiesto prompt some interesting thoughtsor interesting ideas that participants are telling you.So what I would suggest is that once youare filling in the ethics form, then add as plan Bthat you are having the opportunity to re-interview

  • 10:18

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: the same participants for a second time.Once it's approved, you can always go backand you can always contact the participants againto ask these concerns or ask these questions.Interview process and generated data

  • 10:38

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: has some advantages and some disadvantages,as I mentioned before.The advantages are that you really have a rich data.But also you have to be mindful that how you'regoing to analyze those data and what is important in that data.It is a very complex process.

  • 10:58

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: Therefore, having rich data is good,but also has their difficulties or complexities with it.I would say disadvantage is that--the main disadvantage of conductingsemi-structured interviews are that participantscan go off the target and can go off your topic,

  • 11:21

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: your research topic.Therefore, you have to be able to draw backto the focus of the research the participants by gently askingsome questions or prompting the talk,and reminding gently again the participants

  • 11:42

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: that your research topic is about,for example, in my case, professionality or identityformation.Therefore, I would rather talk about earlier practicethan her own personal life, which could be very interestingand definitely has impact on identity formations,

  • 12:04

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: yet it's important to focus on your topic of the research.As I mentioned before, the participants were known to me.They were my students.And while it was a very good practiceto interview somebody who is working

  • 12:26

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: in the field of your research because they can give yousome very important information about that field,it is also important to notice that, because you know them,they may want to please the researcher in a waythat they are going to tell you somethingthat perhaps you want to hear rather than what they think.

  • 12:50

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: There is a very good literature about interviewing friendsby Harris.And it's very nicely explained and describedwhat is the advantage and disadvantageof interviewing friends or interviewingpeople you may know.

  • 13:12

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: Another key point when you are interviewingis being insider or outsider researcher.For my case, it was, I would say, semi-insider.Semi-insider, I would call because Iwas working in the field.Therefore, I knew the participants' working

  • 13:34

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: conditions, and I knew what--it's a requirement working as an earlierpractitioner in a nursery or in a private settings.And because I also know them, I would say I am a semi-insider.I wasn't working with the participants.Therefore, in that respect I was the outsider.

  • 13:57

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: Yet, if you are an outsider, somewould argue that you can get more valuable data or morevalid data.I would argue that if you are a semi-insider or semi-outsider,you can get equally invaluable data for your research

  • 14:19

    EVA MIKUSKA [continued]: because you already have an insight what they maydo in their setting, but also youare not familiar with their immediate surroundings.Therefore, it is very important to have both.And it's a good mixture, in my view.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2018

Video Type:Interview

Methods: Pilot studies, Semi-structured interviews, Field notes

Keywords: anxiety; complexity; detached work; disadvantage; friends; knowledge; practices, strategies, and tools; preparedness; reflection (psychology) ... Show More

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Eva Mikuska discusses the importance of piloting ideas and research before pursuing a project. She describes a case involved in her doctoral research, and reflects on how the research was conducted, including what went well and what went wrong.

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The Importance of Pilot Studies

Eva Mikuska discusses the importance of piloting ideas and research before pursuing a project. She describes a case involved in her doctoral research, and reflects on how the research was conducted, including what went well and what went wrong.

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