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The Importance of Pilot Studies: Beginning the Hermeneutic Circle

Abstract

This article suggests the importance of experiential knowledge and/or engagement of the researcher for developing understanding. One way to ground researchers' theoretical derived understanding is to conduct a pilot study. The hermeneutic circle, as described by Heidegger, provides a framework for understanding the importance of pilot studies; it suggests that a person must have a practical sense of the domain within which a phenomenon is situated in order to develop understanding. In this article, I present the many meaningful revisions to the theoretical framework and methodology that a pilot study allowed me to make within the research project. Two important implications that contribute to higher education research and practice are offered: (1) it illustrates the importance of grounding the research process in practical activity, and (2) it highlights how reflection can help to improve our research practice.

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Kezar, A. The Importance of Pilot Studies: Beginning the Hermeneutic Circle. Research in Higher Education 41, 385–400 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1007047028758

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Keywords

  • High Education
  • Pilot Study
  • Important Implication
  • Education Research
  • Research Process