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The importance of pilot studies Edwin R. His research interests include the organisation of maternity care at home and abroad, substance misuse, and psychosocial aspects of genetics. Her research interests include midwifery care, consumer satisfaction and preferences, and research utilisation.
The term 'pilot studies' refers to mini versions of a full-scale study also called 'feasibility' studiesas well as the specific pre-testing of a particular research instrument such as a questionnaire or interview schedule.
Pilot studies are a crucial element of a good study design. Conducting a pilot study does not guarantee success in the main study, but it does increase the likelihood. Pilot studies fulfil a range of important functions and can provide valuable insights for other researchers.
There is a need for more discussion amongst researchers of both the process and outcomes of pilot studies. The term pilot study is used in two different ways in social science research.
It can refer to so-called feasibility studies which are "small scale version[s], or trial run[s], done in preparation for the major study" Polit et al.
However, a pilot study can also be the pre-testing or 'trying out' of a particular research instrument Baker One of the advantages of conducting a pilot study is that it might give advance warning about where the main research project could fail, where research protocols may not be followed, or whether proposed methods or instruments are inappropriate or too complicated.
In the words of De Vaus Thus pilot studies are conducted for a range of different reasons see Table 1. The first phase of a pilot might involve using in-depth interviews or focus groups to establish the issues to be addressed in a large-scale questionnaire survey.
Next the questionnaire, e. A final pilot could be conducted to test the research process, e. For example, a recent study exploring nurses' and midwives' attitudes to research followed this pattern.
In this study focus groups were used to identify key issues from which a questionnaire could be developed, and this was then piloted prior to the study proper Hundley et al.
On a much larger scale, the largest decennial survey in the UK, the Census of 29th Apriltested methodological and other changes to the Census questionnaire on overhouseholds in Pilot studies may also try to identify potential practical problems in following the research procedure.
For example, in a recent Scottish study of maternity care the pilot phase demonstrated that the proposed means of distributing the questionnaires would not be adhered to van Teijlingen et al. Without consulting the research team, the person responsible for distributing the questionnaires from the hospital records department decided that it was better to distribute them through the community midwives.
This was despite the fact that the hospital itself had suggested the records department as a means of distribution. Other problems such as poor recording and response rates can also be identified and precautionary procedures or safety nets can be devised.
The steps used to pilot a questionnaire on a small group of volunteers, who are as similar as possible to the target population, are listed in Table 2.
Pilot studies can also uncover local politics or problems that may affect the research process. In the study described above, the managers of maternity services had different perceptions of what the forthcoming changes in the Data Protection Act allowed them to do about the involvement of their clients in research.
In the above mentioned recent Scottish study of maternity care one head of midwifery voiced ethical concerns about the use of follow-up or reminder letters due to a previous local incident, where parents of an ill baby had been sent a questionnaire which was felt to be inappropriate, and as a result of changes to the UK Data Protection Act.
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Consequently reminders were sent out via the head of midwifery in case there were any problems with the newborn baby. Pilot study procedures to improve the internal validity of a questionnaire administer the questionnaire to pilot subjects in exactly the same way as it will be administered in the main study ask the subjects for feedback to identify ambiguities and difficult questions record the time taken to complete the questionnaire and decide whether it is reasonable discard all unnecessary, difficult or ambiguous questions assess whether each question gives an adequate range of responses establish that replies can be interpreted in terms of the information that is required check that all questions are answered re-word or re-scale any questions that are not answered as expected shorten, revise and, if possible, pilot again.
These include the possibility of making inaccurate predictions or assumptions on the basis of pilot data; problems arising from contamination; and problems related to funding.
These issues are now discussed in turn. Completing a pilot study successfully is not a guarantee of the success of the full-scale survey.TLRPIII: Learning in and for interagency working Interagency Collaboration: a review of the literature Paul Warmington, Harry Daniels, Anne Edwards, Steve Brown.
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This post provided by the team of Dissertation Help Service. Research Methodology is a way to find out the result of a given problem on a specific matter or problem that is also referred as research problem.
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