Research is a progressive study that involves collecting, analysis, and interpreting the data. The purpose of the study is to discover the association between variables. There are different types of research as dictated by the ultimate goals and the subject matter. The main methods are qualitative and quantitative. This article will discuss quantitative research.
What is Quantitative Research?
Quantitative research is a study that pertains to obtaining and analyzing data in a manner that is countable. This type of research gives the researcher a way to come up with statistics from the collected data.
The main intention of carrying out quantitative research is to obtain information that will help in making a generalization about a population under study. This process is known as generalizability. An example can be a study done to differentiate some regions of the country on the attitude they have towards their government, quantitatively, the research can provide statistics to illustrate the difference among the selected regions.
Due to its accuracy and preciseness, quantitative research can be used by any field namely economics, psychology, sociology, political science, and marketing among other domains. However, some fields hardly depend on quantitative research to carry their studies. These are history and anthropology.
Methods of Quantitative Research
There are various methods used by quantitative research to collect data from the field. These methods are: use of a questionnaire, pre/post designs, pre-existing data, and pilot study.
A questionnaire is a set of prepared questions that have choices of answers for statistical study or a survey. Questionnaires, which is also called s survey, is the most preferred methods of collecting data. It involves providing the surveys to people directly, distributing them to various places, or sending the questionnaire through different electronic means for example emailing. By using this method, a large number of people can be reached. Although it is the most used method, it has some limitations, one of them is that not every person given the questionnaire will complete and send it back.
Pre/post design is used where the researcher needs to study the data at the start of an intervention in a sociological area and once the intervention is over. The method involves the provision of the questionnaires to people under the study during intervention such as malaria treatment and after the intervention to determine whether intervention made an impact.
This is the data that is already there and can be accessed for information. It is mostly called secondary data. The pre-existing data can be obtained from government or organization reports, previous research, and individual journals. It is the quickest method but the problem is that the researcher can transfer the mistake from secondary sources because he or she had no control over the way the data was collected.
The method involves carrying out a study in areas that are poorly understood with the goal of establishing a new knowledge. Questionnaires can be used during piloting to determine an impact the implemented intervention had on the subjects.
Once the data has been collected the next step is analyzing the data through systematic sorting and synthesizing in a manner that will individualize the responses. Generalization of the outcome is done and the obtained results are presented in forms of figures, pictures, and tables.