Are you planning to start a research project? If so, you may be excited. However, before initiating the project, analyze its feasibility. Ideally, you would not like to deal with too many samples all of a sudden.
If you forget to include the important question to your questionnaire list, it won’t be good for your project. The pilot study helps you to determine the feasibility of the research design.
Pilot Study is a “rehearsal” or a preparation at a small level to make sure your methods for the research project are alright. To guide the methodology of your large-scale study, you would use the results.
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A pilot study applies to both quantitative and qualitative research, and researchers should use this approach. This article discusses the significance of the pilot study. Importantly, it saves researchers’ time and resources.
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Modules of the Pilot Study
The pilot study adds value to your research, whether it is a questionnaire-based survey or a medical treatment trial. Following are the components that you need to take into account for the pilot study.
Selection and sample size. The research data should represent the target study population. Besides, you need to employ a statistical approach to forecast whether your sample size is feasible.
Determine the criteria. When you collect samples and recruit subjects, make sure that the overall process is practical. The success of the pilot study depends upon the aim of your study.
You always need to test the measurement instrument; it could be equipment, questionnaire or the method used. You need to think on these lines: Is it practical and manageable? How can you improve it?
Evaluation and Data Entry. With the help of your proposed statistical analysis, run the trial to check if your proposed analysis is suitable for your data. Draw the flow chart of the procedure.
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Why Use the Pilot Study?
Researchers need to incorporate pilot study into research design every time they conduct research. Pilot studies:
- Facilitate researchers to define the research question.
- Conduct the testing of the overall process and the proposed study. In this way, you would gain information about the potential issues that can adversely affect the project.
- Create awareness about various techniques with your research.
- Ensure the safety of the medical treatments during pre-clinical trials that involve a small number of participants. It is a necessary step in clinical trials.
- Determine your research feasibility so that you could utilize your time and resources appropriately.
- Deliver preliminary data, and you could use that to increase your chances for receiving funds and convince stakeholders that you possess the required skills and knowledge to accomplish the research.
Is Pilot Study Always Essential?
Pilots studies are useful for every type of research. In several cases, scientific studies do not work according to the plan. Therefore, you need to optimize the procedure to reduce the chances of unexpected events. Pilot study proves to be advantageous to identify the mistakes and their rectification.
A Necessary Component for Appropriate Research Design
A pilot study helps determine the feasibility of your project; also, it provides you with an opportunity to publish its results. The researcher is under a scientific and ethical obligation to release their information to facilitate other researchers so that they could also utilize their resources.
The successful pilot study does not guarantee the success of a research project. But, it enables you to evaluate your approach and adopt the necessary measures for the study. It gives you an idea of whether your project would work.
Quantitative Research Example
You can carry out large-scale quantitative research using survey data to examine the connection between political party affiliation and race. To complete this study, first, you need to choose a data set, for example, General Social Survey.
Select one of the data sets and then employ a statistical approach to study this relationship. During the process of relationship analysis, you would realize the significance of other variables that can influence political party affiliation.
For instance, area of residence, income level, age, and gender might affect party affiliation (either independently or in connection with the race).
Also, you may get to know that the data set you selected does not provide adequate information you need to answer the question in the best possible manner.
So, you may decide to select another data set or integrate another with the actual one that you chose. Completing this pilot study procedure will enable you to bridge any gaps in your research design and perform high-quality research.
Qualitative Research Example
Pilot Study is also useful for a qualitative research study. For example, you can conduct an interview-based survey of adopting pilot study approach. Consider a situation when a researcher wants to examine the relationship that Apple customers have with the organization’s products and brands.
The researcher may opt first to conduct a pilot study comprising two focus groups to identify the question and thematic pattern, which would be helpful to track detailed one to one interviews. The focus groups may be effective for this type of study because the researcher will have an idea as to what questions to put forward and topics to discuss.
Furthermore, they may realize that other questions and topic emerge when members of the target group discuss with each other. Due to this pilot study based on the focus group, the researchers will be able to create a useful interview guide for a more extensive research project or study.
The pilot study is an initial small-level study that researchers carry out to determine the ways to conduct a large-scale research project. The pilot study helps a researcher to refine the research question and determine what approaches are suitable for it.
Through pilot studies, researchers get an idea as to how much time and resources are necessary to complete the full-scale project.
Pilot studies are useful in both qualitative and quantitative types of research. The pilot study evaluates whether the research design and objectives are practical. It identifies and resolves potential issues. A pilot study is essential to estimate the cost and time for completing the project.