What is a Pilot Study in Research? and Examples

Pilot Study in Research

Various disciplines carry out research on a large scale, such researches involve a large sample and are time-consuming and costly. There are various method and techniques, whether scientific or not, that are chosen as suitable to carry out the research. A pilot survey is carried out before the actual research to check the feasibility and validity of the methods and techniques that are chosen among the same area but in a smaller sample.

This study seeks to find out whether large scale research can be conducted in a manner that has been decided or not. It is studied to test the process of the main study, which is to test whether the steps that are taken are feasible or not.

Further to see the problems that may occur regarding the time and resources and their feasibility. Problems like, the estimate of how much time the actual study will require, whether the equipment can be used as planned and whether the methods adopted are fit for the field that has been chosen for research.

Another aspect tested in this study was the management of data and the assistance hired for the research, this aspect also includes checking whether one is being able to collect adequate data on the research questions. Research may be hindered if the respondents are not willing to open up.

Becoming fully aware of the methods chosen for the main research through the pilot study helps to use these methods better while conducting the main research since now the researchers are completely aware of the advantages and disadvantages of using the method and can modify the way it needs to be applied. We can see the simple example of using the interview method, the researcher may find that the answers of people differ, and thus it becomes harder to make generalizations and in such a scenario one may use the questionnaire method. Or if incase the respondents were not responding as planned then there might be a need to unstructured the questionnaire and ask the question to fit the situation.

The sample may be conducted randomly, however one should avoid, to whatever extent they can, to choose the same people in the larger study as they may then alter their answers, or in the case of a medical study since they have already been tested.

In the case of a clinical study, for example, a pilot study helps test the level of preparation among the researchers and those hired to assist the research. Further, it helps to understand if a storage facility will need to be arranged, the consent of the individuals being tested.

Thus a pilot study forms an important part of the field research and must be conducted, the results derived from the private study must be included in the main study and the method section must give the rate of success or retention, this will determine whether it would be feasible to conduct the larger study or not, for example, the researcher decides that the study will on be conducted if the retention rate of the pilot study will be 90%. This will ensure that the research can be conducted more or less as planned.




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Aishani Menon, a sociologist, communicates her thoughts through words. She values learning, seeing it as the catalyst for growth, and believes that the best writing stems from continuous knowledge