Pilot Study

The purpose of your pilot

As part of your participation in the Advanced Online Research Methods Module you have agreed to pilot your own online research project and to take on the role of a participant in the piloting of the online research project designed by other course members.   The aim of this is to:

  1. further your experience as both an online researcher and online research participant;
  2. enable you to gain feedback on the design and implementation of your own online research project;
  3. enable you to gain insight into, and provide constructive feedback on, the design and implementation of online research more generally;
  4. encourage you to reflect on your development as an online researcher.

In most cases your pilot project will have been designed with the needs of your final target research participants in mind.  We know that for some of the projects your fellow course members do not have particular characteristics or knowledge that your final research participants will have, and they therefore will not be able to give you detailed feedback on specific aspects of your research.   For a few of you where, this aspect is particularly problematic we have discussed alternative piloting arrangements.  Nevertheless we feel in most cases your colleagues from the Advanced Online Research Methods will be able to provide you with feedback on specifically related to the online methodology and other aspects such as the clarity of your questions, the tone of the research etc. 

When you are taking on the role of a research participant to help someone else pilot their research project you do not have to answer questions in a truthful manner.  The idea is that you provide your colleague with realistic responses and experience of data collection in an online research environment rather than ‘real’ data that they could incorporate into the results of their actual project. 

Pilot groups

We have put you into groups for the pilots and sent you a list of everyone else’s email addresses.  You need to make contact with the other people in your group in order to make arrangements to pilot your project with them.   

If, once you have further information from your colleagues,  you decide that you would rather not take part in their pilot - for example due to the nature of the topic, then please let Jane or Tristram know.  You do not have to provide us with a reason. 

You should aim to complete the piloting by Wednesday 25th March 2009.

Giving and receiving feedback

When you contact the members of your group you should think carefully about any aspects of the study that you would particularly like feedback on. When you contact people you might want to provide them with a list of questions or headings under which they can respond to you.

As you are taking part in pilot activities you may wish to make some notes about things that you particularly like or dislike about their approach. Try and be positive and developmental in the feedback and give at least as much positive feedback as you do negative. However, it is also important to be specific and noting down details like which questions your liked or which URLs aren't working can be invaluable feedback.

We will organise a synchronous chat so that the groups can all discuss their experiences at 10.00 - 11.00 on Thursday 26th March. However, you should feel free to feedback via email or to build the giving of feedback into the pilot experience itself.

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Exploring Online Research Methods

This site is part of the ESRC funded Exploring Online Research Methods project.

For further information and resources please visit the Exploring Online Research Methods website.

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