BACKGROUND: Being an empathetic researcher can be crucial in understanding participants' perspectives. However, while the need for empathy is recognised in qualitative interview research, there is less acknowledgement of its value with other methods of collecting data. Researchers can face various challenges when the instruments and approaches used to collect data are new to them. The value of researchers acting as participants when undertaking pre-pilot work are not be underestimated.

AIM: To provide a reflective account of the pre-pilot work undertaken by the authors before their main study.

DISCUSSION: Pre-pilot work that involves the researchers as participants can develop cultural competence, as well as empathetic insight into participants' perspectives, thus enabling them to refine and strengthen their main study.

CONCLUSION: It takes time when planning research to incorporate appropriate pre-pilot work that assists personal training and learning. However, this can pay dividends in terms of the empathetic insight gained for the refinement of the proposed study. Pre-pilot work and a reflective approach can strengthen rigour, as well as assist in planning research and collecting data.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Experienced researchers may be novices at using specific tools or methods of collecting data. Pre-pilot work enables a greater understanding and deeper appreciation of participants' perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Researcher
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Dec 2021


  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design
  • Research Personnel


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