Posted: August 12th, 2013
A pilot study is not necessarily restricted to qualitative research design; pilot studies can be used for both qualitative and quantitative research designs. For example, in quantitative design it can be used to determine the feasibility of the methodology used by observing and carrying out experiments on a few samples from a population. In qualitative research design, pilot studies can be used to confirm the effectiveness of the questionnaires to be used in a particular research. Pilot studies can be used to reveal flaws in the methods used in dispensing and collecting questionnaires. Pilot studies can therefore be applied in both quantitative and qualitative research (Gilgun, 2006).
It is crucial to conduct a pilot study if one is using questionnaires for researching. Pilot studies can be used to verify whether the methods used in dispensing questionnaires are efficient and will provide the best results. A pilot study can also assist the researcher in verifying whether the selection of questions, their sequence and wording provided will guide the respondents in producing the best responses (Bordens & Abbott, 2011). In addition to that, researchers who carry out a pilot study can be able to forecast the rates with which the respondents will respond. Pilot studies are therefore essential since they will assist the researchers in identifying and correcting anomalies in their questionnaires and taking precautionary measures.
A pilot study is a trial study and hence it should be carried out in small-scale. To be effective, the pilot study can only be carried out on a sample population. Since my full-scale research will survey a population of around 200 my pilot study shall consist of a sample of 20. The sample I choose is just a representative of the true population, it is supposed to reveal the characteristics of the whole population to be surveyed. The study of this sample will not require a lot of money and resources in its implementation. The information I shall derive from the data above shall be adequate for purposes of feasibility analysis and will help me carry out my research.
A pilot study is the only way one can troubleshoot on their research methods (Edwin & Vanora, 2001). It ensures that the methodology and instrument chosen can accurately deliver the projected results without any errors. It is used to gather information that is crucial in the implementation of the main study. The main aim of a pilot study is to check the efficiency and effectiveness of the research instruments. If the instruments are found to be faulty, they can be replaced or other measures to correct the anomaly taken.
A pilot study can be used for any study, be it quantitative or qualitative. Researchers normally use pilot studies to find out whether a particular study is feasible. This ensures that they do not commit their resources and finances to a study that will not achieve its objectives. It also helps the researcher to diagnose any problems with hi research instruments before he embarks on any further research. All types of studies require pilot studies because it is the only way through which researcher can forecast the challenges they will face during the study.
The purpose statement and the problem statement are very important when preparing to carry out a research. The purpose statement outlines the reasons why the study is being carried out (Gilgun, 2006). The researcher must therefore have a draft of the possible conclusions or outcomes of his study. The problem statement outlines the problem the researcher is trying to tackle. The problem statement and the research purpose explain what the research entails. The purpose statement and problem statement guide the researcher in ensuring that the main objectives of research are achieved.
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