What Is A Pilot Study? Is It Beneficial For Students?

Pilot Study

If you are planning for long scientific research, you should first design a pilot study. The other name of the pilot study is ‘feasible study’, though it is a less common term. With this study, you can select or check the most feasible way to conduct specific research. Such studies help the researcher find almost all possible research barriers before conducting a full-scale study. If you run a small-scale experiment with the same guidelines as you planned for a large scale study, you may get the same results according to your expectations.

Moreover, it also outlines the strengths and weaknesses of studies. You can also revise or replace some steps after pilot studies.

What Is A Pilot Study, And What Is Its Purpose?

A pilot study is a small study that students conduct to test protocols, strategies and methods of data interpretations. In other words, this study is often conducted before the original or large scale study. A Pilot study, in simple words, is a demo study that passes through all necessary steps of the original study. It passes through all research steps like data collection, analysis, and interpretation. You also need to use statistical tools and create a scientific story here. In short, a pilot study is exactly like the original study, with one exception that it deals with a small sample size. The small sample size allows the researchers to use limited resources. It also decreases the time require to complete the research.

The pilot study has a special place in the research process, regardless of the field. Broadly, we designed such studies to identify all necessary problems a researcher may encounter during the original study. In research, such studies are systematic ways to find the answer to an important question ‘Can a plan we chose to conduct a research provide us expected results’? Hence, this small scale study is a way to know the flaws in research methods, techniques and other steps practically. Although most people take it as a difficult task, many students prefer to buy a dissertation online to overcome all of its issues.

How To Conduct A Pilot Study In Research?

A pilot study is only one step in a research process, and sometimes, students even skip it. It is important to design a new experiment, strategy and policy. If students are replicating old research or using facts and figures already proved, they can skip this step. A researcher can also design such studies for testing only a few of the several techniques for research. In all scenarios, the first step is identifying techniques and approaches that may cause problems. Further, you can follow a step by step guide to conducting such a small scale or feasibility study.

2.1 Identify The Research Part That May Be Problematic

Before conducting a pilot study, the first thing is to decide which point need verification. Sometimes a few aspects are so sure that the researcher does not need to pass them from the pilot study. So a smart approach is first to do rough calculations to estimate the methods that may prove problematic.

2.2 Make A Feasibility Questions List That Needs To Be Answered Through A Pilot Study

Once you have decided on which methods you want to run a pilot study, the next step must be to make a list of related queries. The list of related queries further helps the researcher maximise the benefits of pilot studies in the education field.

2.3 Do calculation to know the feasibility rate

The main goal of a pilot study is to check whether a full-scale study plan will work well or not. Hence, at this step, you need to achieve this goal. For this, you can set criteria to check the feasibility of your plan. Moreover, you can set a rating scale or scores guide against each question to quantify the feasibility.

2.4 Decide the sample size for your pilot study

After formulating questions and setting feasibility criteria, it is time to decide the appropriate sample size for a small scale study. More, for the sample size setting, you can follow Teare’s advice. According to his advice, the trial or pilot study sample size of 70 is good to reduce imprecision during the data interpretation. Still, based on the field of study, there are many other ways to select sample size.

2.5 Run experiments to get answers to the above-listed question

After following all the above steps, at this point, the researcher runs the trial experiment. While running the experiment, they note down the answer to all questions one by one. Once you get all answers through your studies, you can move on to the next step.

2.6 Observe answers to identify the problematic steps in a research

Based on the criteria you set to calculate the feasibility of each step, here you need to conclude. After this step, you will have verified knowledge about steps that may cause problems in large scale studies.

Following these six steps, one can get maximum benefits from pilot studies.

What are the advantages of a pilot study?

Normally, a pilot study is the micro-version of anyone’s research project. It has the potential to tell the minor flaws in research methodology that otherwise remains unnoticed. The results of the pilot studies may become the baseline or maps for the large scale studies. These are just a few simple benefits of pilot studies. The following are many more that a student can get by conducting pilot studies.

  1. Pilot studies help students check the research question’s credibility right after its formulation. The students do not have to wait till the end to know the weakness of his methodology.
  2. These studies are equally beneficial for refining and identifying the hypothesis/hypotheses, just like research questions.
  3. The small sample size in these small scale studies also predicts the most appropriate sample size for the large scale studies. Sometimes, by simply doubling the sample size, you can get the expected results.
  4. More, it guides amendments that a researcher should do further to increase the worth of the large scale original study.

As a big picture, the pilot studies effectively predict all uncertainties one may face during a research design. From the rough estimation of facts to trail-based evidence, such studies help students improve their research results. Hence, a pilot study is the best approach to save students from wrong results interpretations.


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