When data is collected from a limited number of subjects selected from the population targetted by the research project, we refer to it as a pilot study. A pilot study can also take the form of a trial run. For instance, an advertising campaign is tested in a specific market before it goes nation-wide, to study the response by potential consumers.
In a pilot study, the rigorous standards used to obtain precise, quantitative estimates from large, representative samples are often relaxed, since the objective is to gain insight into how subjects will respond prior to administering the full survey instrument. Although a pilot study constitutes primary research, it tends to be used in the context of a qualitative analysis.
There are four major qualitative research techniques that can be used as part of a pilot study. These are
Related Readings (Kumar, V., Aaker, D.A. & Day, G.S. (1999). Essentials of Marketing Research. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)