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A tutorial on pilot studies: the what, why and how

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medical Research Methodology, January 2010
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#26 of 1,941)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (98th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
1 news outlet
blogs
3 blogs
policy
1 policy source
twitter
115 tweeters
wikipedia
6 Wikipedia pages

Citations

dimensions_citation
1569 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
3360 Mendeley
citeulike
4 CiteULike
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Title
A tutorial on pilot studies: the what, why and how
Published in
BMC Medical Research Methodology, January 2010
DOI 10.1186/1471-2288-10-1
Pubmed ID
Authors

Lehana Thabane, Jinhui Ma, Rong Chu, Ji Cheng, Afisi Ismaila, Lorena P Rios, Reid Robson, Marroon Thabane, Lora Giangregorio, Charles H Goldsmith

Abstract

Pilot studies for phase III trials - which are comparative randomized trials designed to provide preliminary evidence on the clinical efficacy of a drug or intervention - are routinely performed in many clinical areas. Also commonly know as "feasibility" or "vanguard" studies, they are designed to assess the safety of treatment or interventions; to assess recruitment potential; to assess the feasibility of international collaboration or coordination for multicentre trials; to increase clinical experience with the study medication or intervention for the phase III trials. They are the best way to assess feasibility of a large, expensive full-scale study, and in fact are an almost essential pre-requisite. Conducting a pilot prior to the main study can enhance the likelihood of success of the main study and potentially help to avoid doomed main studies. The objective of this paper is to provide a detailed examination of the key aspects of pilot studies for phase III trials including: 1) the general reasons for conducting a pilot study; 2) the relationships between pilot studies, proof-of-concept studies, and adaptive designs; 3) the challenges of and misconceptions about pilot studies; 4) the criteria for evaluating the success of a pilot study; 5) frequently asked questions about pilot studies; 7) some ethical aspects related to pilot studies; and 8) some suggestions on how to report the results of pilot investigations using the CONSORT format.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 115 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 3,360 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 30 <1%
United States 23 <1%
Malaysia 19 <1%
Canada 14 <1%
Brazil 7 <1%
Spain 5 <1%
Netherlands 4 <1%
Germany 4 <1%
South Africa 3 <1%
Other 24 <1%
Unknown 3227 96%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 705 21%
Student > Master 548 16%
Researcher 401 12%
Student > Bachelor 292 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 210 6%
Other 706 21%
Unknown 498 15%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 741 22%
Nursing and Health Professions 326 10%
Social Sciences 289 9%
Psychology 287 9%
Business, Management and Accounting 243 7%
Other 801 24%
Unknown 673 20%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 101. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 09 April 2022.
All research outputs
#330,920
of 21,941,598 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medical Research Methodology
#26
of 1,941 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#1,247
of 119,545 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medical Research Methodology
#1
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,941,598 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,941 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 10.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 119,545 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them