Quantitative research design uses a variety of empirical methods to assess a phenomenon. The most common method is the experiment, but there are other types of quantitative research as well, such as correlation studies and case studies.
In contrast with qualitative research, which relies on subjective interpretations and extensive explorations, the various types of quantitative methods use objective analysis to reveal patterns and relations among data points that often have a numerical value. Quantitative research provides a mathematical summary of the results.
Let’s look at quantitative research design, the types of quantitative research methods and their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Types Of Quantitative Research
If a researcher is studying a single variable, time, space, or another construct, they’re engaged in qualitative research. However, if that variable is a collection of quantitative data points—such as the number of employees that use a workplace break room compared to the number of employees who use other break rooms—the researcher is engaged in quantitative research.
Here are some methods commonly used in quantitative research design:
The experiment is perhaps the most common way for quantitative researchers to gather data. In this method, researchers manipulate one variable at a time, while they hold all other variables constant. If a researcher wishes to determine which type of computer mouse is easier for employees to use, they must ensure the employees are experienced with computers, comfortable with their chairs or desks and have no issues with their eyesight. Common methods for this type of research include randomized experiments, non-randomized experiments, clinical trials and field studies.
Correlation studies come in many forms, from simple correlation diagrams to the analysis of multiple variables. For instance, a researcher examining rates of depression among veterinarians could look at associations between self-perceived social status, salary and depression.
3. Cohort Studies
Cohort studies provide a way to measure the extent of change over a period of time. This type of research can lead to results that are both objective and subjective, depending on the type of study employed. For instance, a cohort study examining police officer salaries could determine what salary a police officer should make in an area. However, this same study could also delve into the subjective question of whether police officers are fairly paid compared to other professions.
Research design is a critical factor in the success of a study.
Components Of Quantitative Research Design
While there are many types of quantitative research methods that can be employed, the basic parts of all research designs are the same. Here are the principal components:
At the heart of every research project is a well-framed and considered question. Having a clear objective is the most important part of quantitative research design. Some examples of research questions could be:
- Which type of coffee brewing method extracts the most flavor?
- Which books are contributing most to a publisher’s profit?
- Which newspaper is the most widely read in a city?
In quantitative research design, researchers may explore the relationship between variables in a correlation study, or it could mean determining what variables are best in an experiment.
Once the aim is in place, the actual data collection method must be chosen. This will depend on the data needed to answer the research question. Some options are:
- Participant observations
- Experimental data
As long as the data is expressed numerically, it is quantitative data.
The selection process used to choose participants is a critical component of all types of quantitative research designs. Researchers need a well-defined population. This group can be as small as two people, but it could also be thousands of people as well.
Once the data is collated, a researcher must decide how to analyze it. Some options at their disposal include:
- Descriptive analysis
- Content analysis
- Statistical tests
Once again, it depends on the research question and the goals of the study.
This is sometimes referred to as dissemination. How will the research findings be shared with the world? Common choices are:
- Website articles and blogs
A quantitative researcher’s greatest contribution is that their work can be replicated. Because quantitative research relies on numbers, the results of the study can be exactly duplicated by other researchers.
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