Conducting a pilot study: case study of a novice researcher


  • 1 Lecturer, Intellectual Disability Nursing, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick.
  • 2 Intellectual Disability Nurse, Daughters of Charity Service, Ireland.
  • PMID: 26618678
  • DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2015.24.21.1074

Pilot studies play a vital role in health research, but are often misused, mistreated and misrepresented. A well-conducted pilot study with clear aims and objectives within a formal framework ensures methodological rigour, can lead to higher-quality research and scientifically valid work that is publishable and can benefit patients and health service delivery. A pilot study contributes valuable information to assist researchers in the conduct of their study. Conducting a pilot study provides the researcher with the opportunity to develop and enhance the skills necessary before commencing the larger study. By conducting a pilot the researcher obtains preliminary data, can evaluate their data-analysis method and clarify the financial and human resources required. This article presents an overview of pilot studies, why they are conducted, what to consider when reporting pilot studies and the authors' experience of conducting a pilot study. To conduct a successful study, researchers need to develop their skills, choose the right methods and carefully plan for all aspects of the process.

Keywords: Nursing research; Pilot projects; Research design.

  • Nursing Research*
  • Pilot Projects*
  • Research Design*

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Conducting a pilot study: case study of a novice researcher.

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  • Doody O | 0000-0002-3708-1647

British Journal of Nursing (Mark Allen Publishing) , 01 Nov 2015 , 24(21): 1074-1078   PMID: 26618678 


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