Pilot testing means finding out if your survey, key informant interview guide or observation form will work in the “real world” by trying it out first on a few people. The purpose is to make sure that everyone in your sample not only understands the questions, but understands them in the same way. This way, too, you can see if any questions make respondents feel uncomfortable. You’ll also be able to find out how long it takes to complete the survey in real time.
Similar to this concept is consumer testing of educational materials and messaging. For assistance with consumer testing, please contact the Tobacco Education Clearinghouse of California (TECC), or see their How-To Guide for Educational Materials.