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Fully describe what is meant by quantitative research

Describe the concepts of Quantitative Research:

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“Research is a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue. At a general level, research consists of three steps:

1. Pose a question.

2. Collect data to answer the question.

3. Present an answer to the question.

(Creswell, 2013).

These are the basic steps to research. To expand on these basic steps, we can look to Figure 1 to show us the steps in The Research Process Cycle.

As shown in Figure 1, the steps in the research process cycle are as follows:

1.      Identifying a Research Problem

2.      Reviewing the Literature

3.      Specifying a Purpose for Research

4.      Collecting Data

5.      Analyzing and Interpreting the Data

6.      Reporting and Evaluating Research

Figure 1

To conduct that research there are different methods available. One of those is the quantitative research method.

The following definition describes what the quantitative research method:

“Quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques. Quantitative research focuses on gathering numerical data and generalizing it across groups of people or to explain a particular phenomenon.”

Babbie (2010).

If we dissect this definition into three parts, we can further explain what quantitative research is. We find number one from The Research Process Cycle mentioned previously can be identified in the latter part of the definition given for the qualitative research method: to explain a particular phenomenon equates to identifying a research problem. The last component of the definition, explaining phenomena, is the starting point for any research. The point of doing research is to find out more about that subject. In wanting to explain something further, we need to begin by identifying what it is we will be researching. The specificity of quantitative research lies in the next part of the definition. To do quantitative research, we must collect numerical data.

This leads us into the middle part of the definition, collecting of quantitative data using objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical or numerical analysis of that data collected through several methods. This gives us the last part of the definition of quantitative research that we need to look at and that is how we collect our objective measurements.

Characteristics of Quantitative Data:

In quantitative research the major characteristics are:

·         Describing a research problem through a description of trends or a need for an explanation of the relationship among variables

·         Providing a major role for the literature through suggesting the research questions to be asked and justifying the research problem and creating a need for the direction (purpose statement and research questions or hypotheses) of the study

·         Creating purpose statements, research questions, and hypotheses that are speci?c, narrow, measurable, and observable

·         Collecting numeric data from a large number of people using instruments with preset questions and responses

·         Analyzing trends, comparing groups, or relating variables using statistical analysis, and interpreting results by comparing them with prior predictions and past research

·         Writing the research report using standard, ?xed structures and evaluation criteria, and taking an objective, unbiased approach

Where might quantitative research approach be best used:

Research Designs Associated with Quantitative Research:

·         Experimental Research or Designs – also called intervention studies or group comparison studies are procedures in quantitative research in which the investigator determines whether an activity or materials make a difference in results for participants. You assess this impact by giving one group one set of activities (intervention) and withholding the set from another group.

·         Correlational Research

In some studies, you may be unable to provide an intervention or to assign individuals to groups. Moreover, you focus more on examining the association or relation of one or more variables than in testing the impact of activities or materials. Correlational designs are procedures in quantitative research in which investigators measure the degree of association (or relation) between two or more variables using the statistical procedure of correlational analysis. This degree of association, expressed as a number, indicates whether the two variables are related or whether one can predict another. To accomplish this, you study a single group of individuals rather than two or more groups as in an experiment

·         Survey Research

In another form of quantitative research, you may not want to test an activity or materials or may not be interested in the association among variables. Instead, you seek to describe trends in a large population of individuals. In this case, a survey is a good procedure to use. Survey designs are procedures in quantitative research in which you administer a survey or questionnaire to a small group of people (called the sample) to identify trends in attitudes, opinions, behaviors, or characteristics of a large group of people (called the population)

(Creswell, 2013, pg. 21)

I would develop a quantitative study in this way:

References

(1)   Babbie, Earl R. The Practice of Social Research. 12th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage, 2010; Muijs, Daniel. Doing Quantitative Research in Education with SPSS. 2nd edition. London: SAGE Publications, 2010.

(2)   Creswell, J. W. (2013). Educational research: planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Delhi, India: PHI Learning Private Limited.

(3)   …