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Comprehensive Guide on Quantitative Research

Quantitative research method

What is Quantitative Research?

Quantitative research is a systematic research framework that provides a numerical representation of observations, undertaken with the objective of establishing relationship between variables, describing current situations and identifying cause and effect relationships between variables. It depends on the collection and examination of numerical data to define, explain, and predict variables. This research method utilizes empirical methods and statements to study social, economic and psychological processes through extensive study of numerical patterns. The methodologies used in this research study are structured techniques like surveys, questionnaires, structured observations, review of documents for quantifiable data. To put in simple terms, quantitative research deals with numerical data to explain a particular event or phenomenon and represent the outcome in numerical form. In colleges and in higher education, students are required to write research papers, so it is better if you learn how to write a research paper efficiently.

Purpose of Quantitative Research

The objective of conducting quantitative research is to attain better knowledge and apprehension of the social world. Most often, researchers and social scientists, including communication researchers, conduct this type of research to observe events or occurrences that influence people. Social scientists are involved with various aspects of society, so they study people- from their behavior to relationships. Quantitative research makes it a reliable source to study and gather knowledge about a particular group of people, which is termed a sample population. It helps generate objective data that can be clearly defined through numbers and statistics. It relies on information and facts that are examined and measured to analyze queries about the sample population, done with the help of systematic scientific inquiry techniques. You can go through research paper examples to get more knowledge on how to conduct a research and write a paper on it.

Quantitative Research Features

Here are some distinguishing features of quantitative research:

  1. Structured techniques: Structured techniques in the form of surveys, questionnaires, polls etc. are used to collect quantitative data. These methods facilitate the collection of actionable and in-depth data from the survey participants.
  2. Quantitative data: Typically, quantitative data is depicted in the form of charts, tables, graphs, statistics, and other forms of numerical representation. This enables researchers to understand and analyze the data that has been gathered and also to prove the validity of the market survey. When you have the exact numbers, understanding a particular concept becomes much more convenient.
  3. Sample size: Researchers conduct quantitative research on a specific sample size that depicts the target group or market. Proper sampling methods are to be used during the derivation of the sample.
  4. Close-ended questions: According to the research objective, close-ended questions are created. These questions are used to gather number-based facts and are widely used in quantitative research studies. 
  5. Anterior examination: Several important aspects in relation to the subject are examined even before accumulating response from survey respondents. 
  6. Inference of reports: Results generated from this research method are depicted in a fixed and standard format. An unbiased report is generated so that proper actions can be implemented for improvement. 

Quantitative Research Process

To begin with any research, it is always better to prepare a research paper outline. An outline acts a guide and will help you organize your ideas and information you gather and help you arrange everything in a logical order. Below are the general steps involved in carrying out a quantitative research study and these steps are somewhat consistent across different quantitative research methods.

  1. Identification of research topic and problem: Identifying the research topic is generally the first step in any study. Quantitative research studies are generally narrow in scope and they tend to focus on a small number of key variables. The purpose of the study guides in deciding what research methodologies should be employed to fetch the most accurate data. Through the research paper introduction, readers come to know about the topic and the approach you take and also provides them with a context to why you have undertaken that research.
  2. Research Hypothesis, Statement of one or more appropriate research questions: It is very important to state the hypothesis and research questions clearly and precisely because these guides the remaining process of the study. Failing which may cause misalignment between necessary data and research questions or between proposed analytical techniques and collected data, as the researcher continues with the study. You can seek academic help if you don’t know how to write a hypothesis, as preparing a hypothesis in research papers is important.
  3. Revision of past researches: Revising the prior researches made on the same subject provides great help in the research process as it provides information about a lot of things. Understanding the previous research done can help decide the research methodologies, information collection tools and data analysis techniques to employ in the research. 
  4. Synthesis of a written literature review: Once the related empirical studies have been conducted, the researcher has to prepare a written literature review on specific aspects of the topic he will study.
  5. Preparation of a research plan: Keeping in mind the research objectives and what has been understood from the past research studies, the researcher develops a research plan. The research plan must include the strategies for selecting a sample population, methods to be used in the research, data collection strategies and strategies for data analysis. 
  6. Collection of data: Depending on a specific research design, the data collection procedure is not as time-taking as quantitative research. Generally, data are collected from participants through surveys, tests, inventories, checklists and other tools that help gather numerical data. 
  7. Analysis of data: After collecting raw data, analysis is done to derive statistical inferences. The results are then associated with the research objectives to infer statistical relevance of the outcomes. To assess the quantitative data, statistical analysis software is utilized.
  8. Generation of results and discussions: After analyzing the data, major findings have to be depicted through statistical, numerical and graphical representations. The researcher discusses if he has found something new or anything that supports previous findings. 
  9. Representation of conclusions: On the basis of the interpretation of the results, conclusions are developed.
  10. Development of a final report of the research: The last step in the process involves development of final research report. The researcher includes a thorough description of each step conducted in the research study. The research conclusion must be a summary of your ideas about the research and it should be effective enough to leave a strong impression on the readers, so it is better if you can learn how to compose a research paper conclusion effectively.

Quantitative Research Methods

Typically, there is three main quantitative research methods- descriptive, experimental and correlational research. 

In descriptive research, researchers simply want to derive an overall summary of your research variables.

The researchers conduct a systematic study and analyze whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between the study variables in an experimental research method.

And in correlational research method, researchers study the relationships between two variables to determine if there is any relationship between the variables or not.

Descriptive Research

Descriptive research gives an in-depth description of the population or phenomena that is being studied. Descriptive research uses features of both qualitative and quantitative research. 

Descriptive research is suitable for research where you seek the patterns of a particular event or the tendency of a phenomenon. Descriptive research method is also utilized for studying a subject where you don’t have any knowledge of the research problem and you need principal information to develop an argument. 

Methods of Descriptive Research

  1. Case Study Method: This method refers to the detailed and broad examination of the subject. A case study entails formal systematic research and it uses the outcomes attained from the study to develop a hypothesis. However, the case study method is not appropriate for determining the relationship between cause and effect of study variables as it does not deliver accuracy in results. Moreover, the results of the case study method cannot be inferred and are relevant only to that specific case or similar cases. Case studies are done on unusual and interesting cases that are challenging and provide additional knowledge about a specific case. 
  2. Observational Method: Observational research is a form of non-experimental research. With this research method, researchers observe the behaviors of the subject they are studying. Observational method of quantitative research is useful in studying marketing and social sciences topics.

Observational research has two categories, naturalistic observation and participant observation. The naturalistic observation study involves the study of the behavior of subjects when they are in their natural setting. Whereas, participant observation involves a researcher both observing and participating and engaging with the research participants.

Observational research methods can be used for analyzing the behavior of subjects that are being studied. However, this research is not capable of producing information regarding the actual reasons for the behaviors of the subjects. 

  1. Survey Research: It is one of the most widely used, most popular and convenient methods of study for acquiring primary knowledge and collecting relevant facts. Questionnaires have been created that consist of questions relevant to the research problem. It could be in a paper format or digital format. And these questionnaires are then distributed among common people so that accurate opinions can be generated. 

The survey research method is predominantly used in educational institutions and colleges where market research which is business research is undertaken. It is popularly known as primary research and can be used alongside other research methods to get more accurate outcomes. And also, the data collected can be utilized by other researchers as secondary data.

Experimental Research

Experimental research as the name suggests conducts a test or investigation which is based on a theory. An experiment is undertaken that relies on one or more theories, and the theories are unproven and are merely a supposition. Experimental research is carried out to either prove or disprove the speculating theories. Experimental research is prevalent in natural sciences. 

Correlational Research

Correlational research is done to study how one entity influences the other and it observes how their behaviors change when one of them modifies or alters. Researchers carry out this method to understand how relationships naturally occur between the variables. Thus, at least two groups must be there to carry out correlational quantitative research. The researcher cannot control the variables that are under study, the researcher simply wants to find whether there is a relationship between the two variables. As correlational research helps in establishing the relationship only, it does not establish cause and effect relationship. Hence, it is not suitable for making conclusions only relying on the correlation study, just because there is synchronization between two variables, it essentially does not imply that they are interrelated or does not suggest that a change in one variable is affecting a change in another variable.

Data Collection Methodologies

Sampling Methods

There are two main methods of sampling for conducting quantitative research: Probability and Non-probability sampling.

Probability sampling: To filter individuals from particular demography and create a sample, a probability theory is employed. Participants are selected randomly and each participant gets an equal chance to take part in the sampling.

Probability sampling consists of 4 main types:

  1. Simple random sampling: As the name suggests, this type of sampling involves the random selection of factors. This tool is used in case of an involvement of a large target population.
  2. Cluster sampling: Cluster sampling is used for dividing the main target group into clusters with the help of demographic and geographic sectionalizing parameters. 
  3. Stratified random sampling: Here, a large demography is stratified that means it is divided into groups and the participants are selected randomly from these groups or strata. 
  4. Systematic sampling: This is a technique of sampling in which the initial phase of the sample is selected arbitrarily and each factor are selected using a constant interval.

 Non-probability sampling: In the non-probability sampling method, the experience and knowledge of the person undertaking the study are employed to develop samples. As the researcher takes part in the sample, all the participants of the target demography do not have an even certainty of taking part in the sample.

The non-probability method has 5 sampling models:

  1. Convenience sampling: The factors of the sampling are selected because of one main factor and that is their closeness to the person undertaking the research. As there is no other parameter involved, this tool makes a convenient mode of data collection.
  2. Consecutive sampling: Similar to the convenience sampling, consecutive sampling has one exception. The researcher can select one factor or sample group to carry out the study one after the other over a period.
  3. Snowball sampling: Snowball sampling is a non-probability sampling tool that is implemented with target group that are hard to connect with and gather knowledge about.
  4. Quota sampling: The researcher freely chooses elements using their understanding of characteristics and tendencies for making divisions in this method of sampling. 
  5. Judgmental sampling: In a judgmental sampling method, sample distributions are developed according to the researcher’s skills and experience.

Using Surveys and Polls

A survey is a very popular and widely used tool for the collection of data. This is done by using data from a unit of participants for deriving information and knowledge on several subjects. What makes it an important aspect of quantitative research study outcome is that it involves an easy process and encompasses a large target population.

Polls, on the other hand, are a very suitable method to collect feedback by utilizing close-ended questions from a sample. Election polls and exit polls are the two most commonly used types of polls. They enable the collection of data from a large size of sample but use basic questionnaires such as multiple-choice questions. 

Get Expert Help for your Quantitative Research

Undertaking any kind of research is a challenging and mammoth task. This article will help you obtain a better understanding of quantitative research and its various aspects. However, if you find it difficult to prepare a research paper, then feel free to seek help from expert professionals. At PenMyPaper, you will find an expert team of academic professionals who can help you write research papers easily. PenMyPaper provides an excellent research paper writer service and with our help, you can attain the best scores in your research paper assignments. 

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