The idea of a pilot study is to check the research design: test the questions, the length of the survey, the data being collected, and the method by which it is collected. My first lesson was about paper questionnaires. intended to have them available because I wanted to ensure no data bias, by giving access to those without internet at work. I very quickly realised that many – if not all – have internet connection on their devices, and certainly at home.
Although it wasn’t cheap, Survey Monkey questionnaires look great, viewed on all devices and operating systems. The builder works very well too. I managed to create the questionnaires just in time before a busy period at work. I was also fortunate with the translation to Arabic which was done and checked by kind colleagues. A few minor edits and I was live at the beginning of October.During the past four weeks, I posted links on my social media accounts and sent emails out to friends and family. I was hoping to achieve 50 or so responses. I am thrilled to have received more than double that.
The exercise of analysing these responses should also shed some light on any changes I need to make before I start my empirical work at the end of the year.
Instead of perfecting my theory, and reducing some of the quoted material, I wanted to get into something a little more practical. I’ve started looking at the questions that I will ask in the survey, and at what each of these questions (or a cluster of questions) will capture. Although this too is theory-based, I will be able to switch on and off easily from it- unlike writing a critical review of the literature. In this way I am hoping to be able to get back into it as work is starting to invade my time in a rather big way. Alarm bells are going off everywhere!
The family’s summer holiday is close. I should be back into gear soon after.
This time it’s different, I’ve been telling myself… This time will be different, I’ve been telling my wife. I just hope I’m right (and I believe I am). The job I mentioned I had risked by moving to London has materialised, and with the blessing of God I am now back in full-time employment since May 1st. The previous two months and immediately following my confirmation, I have been busy putting the ground work for what has become my new role in building a new government entity to support and fund SMEs.
Although it will take a huge share of my time, the challenge remains for me to balance my life and make time (and plenty of it) for my PhD work. The good news is that I am now looking at my methodology, questionnaire design, and tidying up my hypotheses – all of which exciting work and requires serious effort. However, it does not suffer as much as working on the literature review whenever I’m interrupted by work, or anything else. I can (almost) pick up and continue from I left off.
Summer will be a little slow with work pressure and a family holiday, but the autumn should see a significant drive. Until then, I must ensure a trickle of effort continues to flow so I don’t have to start again in a couple of months.