Pilot Study In Nursing Research

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Research and Pilot Study

Pilot Study In Nursing Research

 What Is Pilot Study,Benefits of Pilot Study for Nursing,Outcomes of Pilot Study,Results of Pilot Study

What Is Pilot Study

    A pilot study is a smaller version of a proposed or planned study that is conducted to refine the methodology for a larger study. A pilot study uses subjects, settings, and methods of data collection and data analysis similar to those of a larger study.

    It is recommended that all large-scale studies have either pilot work or other preliminary work as evidence of feasibility of the project and to demonstrate the competence of the investigator with the area of study. 

    Feasibility issues that might be addressed in a pilot study include the availability of subjects and estimating the time required for recruitment of subjects, the conduct of the investigation, and the cost of the study. 

    Particularly when planning studies with populations that may not be easily available or accessible, a pilot study is an opportunity to develop or refine sampling methods and to evaluate the representativeness of a sample.

Benefits of Pilot Study for Nursing 

    Preliminary work in the form of a pilot study provides an opportunity to identify problems with many aspects of study design. One important design issue that can be evaluated during the pilot work is determining the number of data collection points and the optimal time between phases of data collection. 

    Pilot work can be used to develop, test, or refine a study protocol, including the treatment or intervention to be used in an experimental or quasi-experimental study. Sufficient pilot work is necessary to support: the efficacy of an intervention prior to proposal submission for a large-scale intervention study. 

    During a pilot study, extraneous variables that had not been considered in the design may become apparent, and methods to control them can be introduced when the larger study is designed.

Outcomes of Pilot Study 

    Pilot work also allows the development or refinement of data collection instruments, including questionnaires and equipment. The performance of instruments with a particular sample under specific conditions can also be evaluated in the pilot project. 

    When collecting quantitative data, the reliability and validity of instruments and the ease of operation and administration can be evaluated prior to data collection in a large-scale study. This is an important step, whether the data collection instruments are interview schedules, questionnaires, computers databases, or equipment to gather biophysical data. 

    For example, during pilot work, questionnaires can be evaluated for clarity of instructions, wording of questions, reading level, and time required for completion. For qualitative studies, pilot work may be important for gaining experience in interacting with the sample and with aspects of data collection, coding, and analysis.

Results of Pilot Study

    The results of a pilot study are likely to be significant for the larger proposed study. If the pilot study is of sufficient size, estimates about the relationships between variables and of effect sizes can be made. 

    This is essential not only for statistical power analysis but for a better understanding of the phenomena under study. Pilot studies often provide important insights into the problem being investigated and may lead to reconceptualization of the problem or refinement of the research questions.


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