DOING A PILOT STUDY: WHY IS IT ESSENTIAL?
Box 1: The importance of a pilot study
- To determine the feasibility of the study protocol and identify weaknesses in a study.
- To test whether the study instrument(s), is asking the intended questions, whether the format is comprehensible and whether the selected validated tool is appropriate for the target population.
- To test the appropriateness of data collection using the selected interview technique (face-to-face or telephone) or self-completed questionnaire (postal or administered at the centre).
- To test the data collection process – the time taken to complete questionnaire, and the subjects’ willingness to participate in the study.
- To test data entry, coding of the items, and appropriateness of statistical tests
- To obtain preliminary data for the primary outcome measure, in order to calculate a required sample size (especially in randomized control trials).