Research Article  |   March 2013
Nuts and Bolts of Conducting Feasibility Studies
Author Affiliations
  • Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Tufts University, 26 Winthrop Street, Medford, MA 02155; Linda.Tickle_Degnen@tufts.edu
Article Information
Evidence-Based Practice / Special Issue on the Accelerating Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research (ACTOR) Conference
Research Article   |   March 2013
Nuts and Bolts of Conducting Feasibility Studies
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2013, Vol. 67, 171-176. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.006270
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, March/April 2013, Vol. 67, 171-176. doi:10.5014/ajot.2013.006270
Abstract

Many factors can affect the successful implementation and validity of intervention studies. A primary purpose of feasibility and pilot studies is to assess the potential for successful implementation of the proposed main intervention studies and to reduce threats to the validity of these studies. This article describes a typology to guide the aims of feasibility and pilot studies designed to support the development of randomized controlled trials and provides an example of the studies underlying the development of one rehabilitation trial. The purpose of most feasibility and pilot studies should be to describe information and evidence related to the successful implementation and validity of a planned main trial. Null hypothesis significance testing is not appropriate for these studies unless the sample size is properly powered. The primary tests of the intervention effectiveness hypotheses should occur in the main study, not in the studies that are serving as feasibility or pilot studies.