Before collecting information from the actual target audience, a researcher conducts a small survey by gathering data from a small sample size of audience. This survey is called a pilot survey. By doing this, the researcher can predict the the response patterns of participants, allowing him to compare the data with the actual survey results and make changes if necessary.
A pilot study can be defined as a small study to test research protocols, data collection instruments, sample recruitment strategies, and other research techniques in preparation for a larger study.
A pilot survey is one of the important stages in a research project and is conducted to identify potential problem areas and deficiencies in the research instruments and protocol prior to implementation during the full study.
It can also help members of the research team become familiar with the procedures in the protocol, and can help them decide between two competing study methods, such as using interviews rather than a self-administered questionnaire.
Importance of pilot survey
Here are a few reasons you should always pilot your survey:
- To check that the results data is meaningful.
- To ensure that the survey displays correctly for all respondents.
- To find out whether respondents understand your questions.
- To run a second, third and fourth pair of eyes over it.
- To ensure that your survey complies with your ethics requirements.
- To discover and address any practical problems.
- To allow for expert review.