The importance of pilot studies

Nurs Stand. 2002 Jun;16(40):33-6. doi: 10.7748/ns2002.


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 of success. Pilot studies fulfill a range of important functions and can provide valuable insights for other researchers. There is a need for more discussion among researchers of both the process and outcomes of pilot studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Nursing Research / methods*
  • Nursing Research / standards*
  • Pilot Projects*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Research Design / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires