The excerpt below is from BMJ and may be used as reference when the intention is to write research manuscripts describing pilot data.
Articles reporting pilot studies should explain the work’s wider context and explain why the term ‘pilot study’ applies. The term ‘pilot study’ should not be applied to justify reporting a small-scale study. Justifications for a pilot study include: trialling a new procedure intended for use in a larger programme of research, establishing power calculations required for a full-scale study, establishing how many patients and/or healthcare professionals can be recruited, evaluating the financial, technical, administrative or logistic feasibility of a full-scale study, including issues of data collection, protocol adherence, and questionnaire design. The sample/patient size should still be justified. The article should explain the impact that the pilot study had on decisions regarding future research.