The design and planning of a research project must consider all the elements of execution. Although this statement may seem obvious, it has its limitations. When a study is planned, all the different phases with their consequent circumstances are usually contemplated. However, as reality is an extraordinarily complex system, it is impossible to contemplate all the variables of all the scenarios before executing the operational work.
When there is no certainty as to whether the assumptions on which a project is proposed are correct, pilot tests are used. These exercises allow us to run a small part of the study in order to confirm that there are no factors that were ignored in the design and therefore it is necessary to go back to adapt the planned methodology to a real scenario. Due to its importance, today we list some benefits of running pilot tests in Market Research.
- Prevent unnecessary expenses. Most of the time, the experts involved in research have enough experience to be able to plan a study without the need to apply pilot tests. However, there will be times when the uncertainty in a given project is so great that it justifies investing in prior operational work to confirm suspicions. Once this preliminary test is evaluated, it will be possible to readjust the phases of the investigation with its consequent savings of time and money.
- Help adjust schedules. Despite the fact that certain productivity times are counted in the training and staging carried out in the application office of data collection instruments, in reality they can be affected by the pace and degree of knowledge of the response of the people who respond to our surveys. In this case, the pilot test allows evaluating the true time requirements necessary to cover the research goals without falling into unrealistic projections.
- Correct the wording of instruments. In general, a neutral and simple wording is more than enough for the people we approach for information to provide us with what we are looking for. However, on certain occasions we will encounter barriers that will become evident in the application of a previous field survey. By identifying them, it will be possible to return them to the design stage to be sure that the data and information collected rigorously and accurately meet the project’s objectives.
- Can give a preliminary idea of the findings. When the research project involves a considerable sample size, the pilot test will also be. On these occasions it will be possible to obtain a very general panorama of the possible tendencies that will be confirmed when executing the final project. This advantage depends a lot on the scope of the previous exercise and should be considered only as an indicative and superficial result.
- Enhance field staff training. In the interviewer training stage, it is usually the case that the questions and doubts are focused more on technical issues than on real incidents on the street. When the pilot test is carried out, the staff can express concerns that were not possible in the cabinet and offer valuable feedback for the necessary readjustments.
In an increasingly immediate and fleeting environment, pilot tests have fallen somewhat into disuse. However, they should not be ruled out in the search for tighter times. The pilot test is a great exercise to detect, even, areas of research opportunity for future projects that were not initially conceived. At Acertiva we are attentive to listening to your Market Research needs in Latin America. Write us today.