The importance of pilot studies
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The term 'pilot studies' refers to mini versions of a full-scale study (also called 'feasibility' studies), as well as the specific pre-testing of a particular research instrument such as a questionnaire or interview schedule. Pilot studies are a crucial element of a good study design. Conducting a pilot study does not guarantee success in the main study, but it does increase the likelihood. Pilot studies fulfil a range of important functions and can provide valuable insights for other researchers. There is a need for more discussion amongst researchers of both the process and outcomes of pilot studies.
van Teijlingen, E., Hundley, V. (2001) The importance of pilot studies. Social Research Update, 35.