Why should I pilot my studies?

            Pilot studies are crucial in good study design. A 'pilot study' is a mini version of your full study that is intended to ensure that your main study is maximally successful.
            It's incredibly important to get your studies right and piloting your studies is one of the best ways of doing that.
            At Positly we recommend you use a sample of 20 or fewer for your first run of an activity to check that the following elements are done well:
            • You have integrated your study successfully
            • Your data is showing up as expected
            • You have targeted the right participants
            • Your time estimates are accurate
            Not only does Positly warn you when you are about to launch a run of your study's activity without piloting, we also provide detailed feedback from participants on the quality of your study as well as statistics around its performance (e.g. average and median time).
            If everything works as expected then simply duplicate the pilot study and change the number of desired participants.
            In their 2001 paper  Edwin & Hundley  provide a broad range of additional reasons to first conduct a pilot study:
            • Develop and test adequacy of research instruments
            • Assess the feasibility of a (full-scale) study/survey
            • Design a research protocol
            • Assess whether the research protocol is realistic and workable
            • Establish whether the sampling frame and technique are effective
            • Assess the likely success of proposed recruitment approaches
            • Identify logistical problems which might occur using proposed methods
            • Estimate variability in outcomes to help determining sample size
            • Collect preliminary data
            • Determine what resources (finance, staff) are needed for a planned study
            • Assess the proposed data analysis techniques to uncover potential problems
            • Develop a research question and research plan
            • Train a researcher in as many elements of the research process as possible
            • Convince funding bodies that the research team is competent and knowledgeable
            • Convince funding bodies that the main study is feasible and worth funding
            • Convince other stakeholders that the main study is worth supporting

            Updated: 26 Dec 2018 06:38 PM
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