American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Pilot Study Orientation

This orientation explains the purpose of a pilot study and discusses how to conduct, report, and use the results of the study.

 When do I need to conduct a pilot study?

Conduct a pilot study to determine the ASHA CEU amount for a course, or portion of a course, that is offered outside the traditional instructor-led classroom when the completion time varies from one learner to another. In other words, conduct a pilot study if CEUs are not based on seat time, viewing time, or listening time.

The following are examples of courses, or portions of courses, that may require pilot studies:

Self-studies: journals, newsletters, videotapes, audiotapes, books, articles, computer packages, Web-based courses

Group activities: field experiences, assigned work outside the classroom (i.e., course prerequisites or follow-up activities)

Note: The pilot study must be conducted within the 12 months prior to the course registration.

How do I conduct a pilot study?

  • Choose at least 10 participants from the course's target audience; do not include the peer reviewers in the pilot study pool
  • Design a participant time log for pilot participants to track, in minutes, how long they spend on each component of the course
  • Provide each of these 10 pilot participants with a complete copy of any pertinent materials, including the course product, instructions, participant time log, learning assessment, and program evaluation
  • Explain the purpose of the pilot study to the participants: to establish the typical time it takes a learner to complete the course
  • Establish a date by which participants must submit their time logs to you

How do I design a participant time log?

  • Identify the course components to be tracked (i.e., reading assignments, written assignments, research, application of techniques, learning assessment, program evaluation)
  • Modify the sample participant time log [PDF] to include the identified course components and instructions for the pilot participants

Do I follow the same procedures if I am piloting work outside the classroom or only selected components of a course?

Yes. Create and distribute a participant time log as described above to reflect the course components or assignments to be tracked by the pilot participants.

Are there special instructions if the self-study is a periodical (newsletter or journal)?

Yes, please note the following:

  • Pilot a typical issue of the newsletter or journal you are registering for ASHA CEUs. It must be similar in content, format, and instructional level to the issues you will register in the future. It can be the upcoming issue or one that is up to 12 months old.
  • Choose at least 10 participants from the newsletter's or journal's target audience who are reading the publication for the first time .
  • Create and distribute a participant time log as described above. Newsletter and journal pilot studies usually track reading time, learning assessment, and program evaluation.

How do I report the data received from the participant time logs?

Enter the data onto the Pilot Study Report Form [PDF]. Below is a brief synopsis of how to complete this form. More detailed instructions can be found in this link: Pilot Study Materials [PDF]. You may also contact your provider manager for assistance.

Page 1

  • Fill in report date, provider code, course number, and course title.
  • Complete Section A: Methodology.
  • Complete Section B: Course/Product Description.
    • Use left column for periodicals only.
    • Use right column for all other products/components/assignments.

Page 2

  • Enter raw data from the participant time logs into Table I (Summary of Pilot Data) of Section C.
    • In the Word version of the Pilot Study Report Form, double click on Table I to change it into an Excel spreadsheet that automatically computes the mean, median, and mode. (Your provider manager can e-mail a copy of this format to you.)
    • Do not send the participant time logs to ASHA, but do keep them on file in case questions arise.
  • Complete Table II (Periodical Enduring Material Formula) only if you are piloting a periodical (journal or newsletter). This table establishes the formula for calculating CEUs for future issues of your journal or newsletter.

Page 3

  • Complete Section D with your name and signature, and the date.
  • Submit Table III (Future Journal/Newsletter CEU Calculation) each time you register a future issue of the newsletter or journal piloted. This table calculates the CEU amount for that issue.

Why do I have to calculate the mean, median, and mode?

Mean, median, and mode are used to ensure that the appropriate measure of central tendency is used to calculate the CEUs.

Mean is the summary statistic obtained by adding up all the data values and then dividing by the number of participants. We use the mean as the preferred measure of central tendency when your data are symmetrical.

Median is the summary statistic obtained by finding the middle value of your data set. We use the median as the preferred measure of central tendency when your data contain outliers. Outliers are extreme scores that affect the distribution.

Mode is the summary statistic obtained by finding the most frequent value.

What are the course registration procedures when a pilot study is involved?

The following items must be received at ASHA at least 30 days prior to the start date of the first offering of your course:

What happens if there is a change in my product's delivery method, format, or content during the period it is registered for ASHA CEUs?

Contact your provider manager to discuss the changes. You may be required to do one or more of the following:

  • provide evidence that the existing pilot data remain a true measure of the time required to complete the product
  • conduct a new pilot study
  • reregister the course

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