n Mousaion - Pilot study on children's reading in Namibia : pitfalls and new strategies




The aim of this article is to report on a pilot study conducted in 2011 that preceded a main study undertaken in 2012, investigating the reading behaviour and preferences of Grade 6 Namibian students. The aims of the pilot study were to develop an easy to answer and reliable questionnaire; to enable emerging researchers to gain experience in data collection through small-scale sampling; and to test whether the instruments of data collection were covering the main aims of the study. The questionnaire was developed and tested three times on small groups before the pilot study. In all 226 students, both rural and urban, from three educational regions in Namibia were included in the pilot study. Vast differences in the students' language ability and socio-economic situation were observed. The data analysis showed that the researchers underestimated the impact of the social desirability factor and the reading levels of the respondents. The questionnaire had to be drastically redesigned. Six further versions of the questionnaire were developed and tested before implementation in the main study. Careful reporting and recording of the pilot process ensured that a successful main study was conducted in 2012. While pilot studies are not frequently fully documented and reported on, it is argued that valuable lessons can be learnt from this honest report.


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