Based on the feedback received from the initial pilot group we can normally put together a near-final version of the questionnaire that 'feels' OK and that does not have any obvious glitches. However, we still do not know how the items will work in actual practice, that is, whether the selected respondents will reply to the items in the manner intended by the questionnaire designers. There is only one way to find out: by administering the questionnaire to a group of respondents who are in every way similar to the target population the instrument was designed for. This is usually an 'undeclared' pretest whereby the respondents are not told that this is a questionnaire under construction. (Converse & Presser, 1986)
How big should this final pilot group be? It need not be very large; the typical sample size at this stage is around 50 (+/- 20). This number will already allow the researcher to conduct some meaningful item analysis, which is the next, and final, step in the questionnaire construction process. In addition, if the final piloting phase did not result in major changes, it may be possible to use at least some of the obtained data for the purpose of the 'real' investigation.
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