PhD Pilot Study Service
What is a Pilot Study?
A pilot study is a test survey conducted among a small sample of respondents to identify potential issues with the questionnaire and primary data collection. A pilot study is conducted to assess respondents’ reaction to the questions, required time for conducting a full-scale survey, difficulties with interpretation of particular questions and the extent to which the design of the questionnaire needs to be adjusted. Thus, pilot studies are conducted in order to understand whether the main PhD research will go according to the original plan or if the plan needs to be adjusted to match real life situations.
What Might Go Wrong?
The main issues arising in a full scale survey are time constraints, insufficient sample, missing responses, and misunderstanding among respondents. This may become a real problem when conclusions cannot be generated and a change in the methodology may be required. A lot of the time, respondents do not fully understand the questions because there are no definitions of particular terms or no examples of what potential answers should be. Such issues are quickly detected with a pilot study, which then allows for taking quick measures to correct the questionnaire and improve the efficiency of the survey.
How Does a Pilot Study Help?
A pilot study allows for estimating the scope of the potential problems and taking corrective measures to address the issues that arose. In particular, a pilot study helps a researcher to assess the time required to fill in the questionnaire realistically. This includes time for distributing surveys, completion of the questionnaires and obtaining respondents’ answers. A pilot study will also help to check whether all responses can be easily quantified, if required. The presence of missing answers or skipped questions in a pilot study will be indicative of flaws in the design of the questionnaire.
Along with that, a pilot study allows for receiving primary feedback from respondents. This refers to the content of questions, their formulation, the number of questions and their completeness and clearness in light of the study purposes.
How Do We Conduct a Pilot Study?
At Original PhD, we conduct pilot studies with originally designed questionnaires and provide our clients with a transcript of responses and a report on all detected issues with the survey including recommendations for correction in the research design. We take a small sample of 5-10 respondents to conduct a pilot study. The sample size is negotiated with each client. In addition to answering the questions in the original questionnaire, respondents in the pilot study are asked to provide their feedback on the questionnaire. After completion of the pilot study, we offer help with full-scale survey including primary data collection, coding of responses, analysis of responses in SPSS or similar statistical software and interpretation of the findings.