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Lesson 1- for students

Lesson 1: Characteristics, Strengths, Weaknesses, and Kinds of Quantitative Research
Humans are 'intuitive' scientists are always asking questions and testing theories about themselves, others, events,
the environment and the world around them.
Research is asking a question and finding out the answer...
1. It is looking into something.
2. It is looking for something.
3. It is comparing and contrasting things.
4. It is finding out more information, it is counting things, making inquiries, being curious,
finding out what people think, finding out what people do, finding out what works, finding
out what doesn't work, finding out what people
What research have you conducted recently?
1. What decisions have you made about your day?
2. What decisions have you made today?
3. What influenced your decision to take this course?
4. How do you prepare and write assignments?
5. How do you decide how to provide the best quality of service for your service
We all engage in or do social research as we act on the basis and results of our own research
and theorizing, therefore, what we think affects the way we behave....
What do we research?
We research people and their behaviour, opinions, attitudes, trends and patterns, also politics, animals, health
and illness. Research can be conducted either informally for our own benefit, through asking questions, watching,
counting or reading and formally, for medical or academic purposes, as a marketing strategy, to inform and influence
politics and policy.
Research may be carried out in our own lives, through the media, in our place of work, with our friends and family or
through reading past research.
Our views - personal, social, community and worldwide and our own identities are socially constructed through our
own theorizing.
Research gives us information about:
1. Thoughts and opinions
2. Attitudes
3. Habits
4. Culture
5. Norms
6. Scientific facts
7. Medical
What do we do with research?
1. Have it as interesting fact
2. Use it to make decisions
3. Use it to persuade influence others
4. Use it to affect change
5. Use it to change behaviour
6. Use it to better use: medical, improve customer care, write better funding applications, monitor
and evaluate our provision
We research in order to understand society and social processes, as well as to test and or create theories in
order that we are better able to inform about social action and potentially 'improve' social conditions.
Quantitative research is defined by Bryman and Bell (2005, p. 154) that
‘entailing the collection of numerical data and exhibiting the view of relationship between
theory and research as deductive, a predilection for natural science approach, and as having
an objectivist conception of social reality’. Quantitative research is influenced by the
empiricist paradigm, which means that it is concerned with cause and effect of social
phenomena and uses the data - which is based on empirical observation and their critical
interpretation. Quantitative research is the systematic empirical investigation of observable
phenomena via statistical, mathematical or computational techniques.
The objective of quantitative research is to develop and employ mathematical models,
theories and/or hypotheses pertaining to phenomena. The process of measurement is central to
quantitative research because it provides the fundamental connection between empirical
observation and mathematical expression of quantitative relationships. Quantitative data is any
data that is in numerical form such as statistics, percentages, etc. The researcher analyzes the
data with the help of statistics. The researcher is hoping the numbers will yield an unbiased result
that can be generalized to some larger population.
"Qualitative research, on the other hand, asks broad questions and collects word data from
phenomena or participants. The researcher looks for themes and describes the information in
themes and
patterns exclusive to that set of participants. "
This research method is used:
• to describe variables;
• to examine relationships among variables;
• to determine cause-and-effect interactions between variables.' (Burns & Grove 2005:23)
Quantitative research is generally made using scientific methods, which can include:
The generation of models, theories and hypotheses
• The development of instruments and methods for measurement
• Experimental control and manipulation of variables
• Collection of empirical data
• Modeling and analysis of data
Use of statistics
Statistics is the most widely used branch of mathematics in
quantitative research outside of the physical sciences, and also finds
applications within the physical sciences.
Quantitative research using statistical methods starts with the
collection of data, based on the hypothesis or theory. Usually a big
sample of data is collected – this would require verification, validation
and recording before the analysis can take place. Software packages such as SPSS and R are typically
used for this purpose.
Your goal in conducting quantitative research study is to
determine the relationship between one thing [an independent
variable] and another [a dependent or outcome
variable] within a population. Quantitative research designs are
either descriptive [subjects usually measured once] or experimental
[subjects measured before and after a treatment]. A descriptive
study establishes only associations between variables; an
experimental study establishes causality.
Quantitative research deals in numbers, logic, and an objective stance. Quantitative research focuses on numeric
and unchanging data and detailed, convergent reasoning rather than divergent reasoning [i.e., the generation of
a variety of ideas about a research problem in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner].
Its main characteristics are:
1. OBJECTIVE. Quantitative research seeks accurate measurement and analysis of target concepts. It is not based
on mere intuition and guesses. Data are gathered before proposing a conclusion or solution to a problem.
2. CLEARLY DEFINED RESEARCH QUESTIONS. The researchers know in advance what they are looking for. The
research questions are well-defined for which objective answers are sought. All aspects of the study are
carefully designed before data are gathered.
3. STRUCTURED RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS. Standardized instruments guide data collection, thus, ensuring the
accuracy, reliability and validity of data. Data are normally gathered using structured research tools such as
questionnaires to collect measurable characteristics of the population like age, socio-economic
status, number of children, among others.
4. NUMERICAL DATA. Figures, tables or graphs showcase summarized data collection in order to show trends,
relationships or differences among variables. In sum, the charts and tables allow you to see the evidence
5. LARGE SAMPLE SIZES. To arrive at a more reliable data analysis, a normal population distribution curve
is preferred. This requires a large sample size, depending on how the characteristics of the population vary.
Random sampling is recommended in determining the sample size to avoid researcher’s bias in interpreting the results.
6. REPLICATION. Quantitative methods can be repeated to verify findings in another setting, thus strengthen and
reinforcing validity of findings eliminating the possibility of spurious conclusions.
7. FUTURE OUTCOMES. By using complex mathematical calculations and with the aid of computers, if-then
scenarios may be formulated thus predicting future results. Quantitative research puts emphasis on proof,
rather than discovery.
The weight of a person (in kilograms)
The height of a person (in metres)
The age of a person (in years and months)
The gender of a person (using a numerical system of categorisation, e.g. 1 for female, 2 for male)
A person’s education (e.g. number and grade of school certificates; classification of undergraduate
A person’s political views (e.g. using a scale that goes from 0 for extreme left-wing to 10 for extreme
• Allows for a broader study, involving a greater number of subjects, and
enhancing the generalization of the results;
• Allows for greater objectivity and accuracy of results. Generally, quantitative
methods are designed to provide summaries of data that support
generalizations about the phenomenon under study. In order to accomplish
this, quantitative research usually involves few variables and many cases, and
employs prescribed procedures to ensure validity and reliability;
• Applying well-established standards means that the research can be
replicated, and then analyzed and compared with similar studies;
You can summarize vast sources of information and make comparisons across categories and over time; and,
Personal bias can be avoided by keeping a 'distance' from participating subjects and using accepted
computational techniques.
Quantitative data is more efficient and able to test hypotheses,
but may miss contextual detail;
Uses a static and rigid approach and so employs an inflexible
process of discovery;
The development of standard questions by researchers can lead
to "structural bias" and false representation, where the data
actually reflects the view of the researcher instead of the
participating subject;
Results provide less detail on behavior, attitudes, and
Researcher may collect a much narrower and sometimes superficial dataset;
Results are limited as they provide numerical descriptions rather than detailed narrative and generally
provide less elaborate accounts of human perception;
The research is often carried out in an unnatural, artificial environment so that a level of control can be
applied to the exercise. This level of control might not normally be in place in the real world thus yielding
"laboratory results" as opposed to "real world results"; and,
Preset answers will not necessarily reflect how people really feel about a subject and, in some cases, might
just be the closest match to the preconceived hypothesis.
Descriptive research is a study designed to depict the participants in an accurate way.
More simply put, descriptive research is all about describing people who take part in
the study.
There are three ways a researcher can go about doing a descriptive research project,
and they are:
• Observational, defined as a method of viewing and recording the participants
• Case study, defined as an in-depth study of an individual or group of individuals
• Survey, defined as a brief interview or discussion with an individual about a
specific topic
Correlational study is a quantitative method of
research in which you have 2 or more quantitative variables from the same
group of subjects, & you are trying to determine if there is a relationship (or
covariation) between the 2 variables (a similarity between them, not a
difference between their means).
Theoretically, any 2 quantitative variables can be correlated (for
example, midterm scores & number of body piercings!) as long as you have
scores on these variables from the same participants; however, it is probably a
waste of time to collect & analyze data when there is little reason to think these
two variables would be related to each other.
Quasi-experimental design involves selecting groups, upon which a variable is
tested, without any random pre-selection processes.
For example, to perform an educational experiment, a class might be
arbitrarily divided by alphabetical selection or by seating arrangement. The
division is often convenient and, especially in an educational situation, causes
as little disruption as possible.
After this selection, the experiment proceeds in a very similar way to any other
experiment, with a variable being compared between different groups, or over
a period of time.
Experimental research is commonly used in sciences such as sociology and
psychology, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine etc. It is a collection of
research designs which use manipulation and controlled testing to understand
causal processes. Generally, one or more variables are manipulated to
determine their effect on a dependent variable.
The experimental method is a systematic and scientific approach to
research in which the researcher manipulates one or more variables, and
controls and measures any change in other variables.
The word experimental research has a range of definitions. In the strict sense,
experimental research is what we call a true experiment.
This is an experiment where the researcher manipulates one variable,
and control/randomizes the rest of the variables. It has a control group, the
subjects have been randomly assigned between the groups, and the researcher
only tests one effect at a time. It is also important to know what variable(s) you want to test and measure.
Deepen ( Write this in your notebook)
Activity 1
Direction: Put a tick (/) if it describes the characteristics of a Quantitative Research.
1. Data is in the form of words, pictures and objects.
2. The data is usually gathered using structured research instruments.
3. It is not based upon numerical measurements and does not use numbers and statistical methods as key
research indicators and tools.
4. It tends to be associated with small-scale studies and holistic perspective, often studying a single
occurrence or small number of occurrences/case studies in great depth.
5. The research study can usually be replicated or repeated, given its high reliability.
6. Data are in form of number and statistics, often arranged in tables, charts, figures, or other non-textual
7. Emphasis is on discovery rather than proof.
8. The results are based on larger sample sizes that are representative of the population,
9. It tends to be associated with emergent research design, using a wide range of approaches
10. Researcher has a clearly defined research question to which objective answers are sought.
Activity 2
Answer the following questions comprehensively.
1. Discuss the strengths of a Quantitative Research.
2. Discuss the weaknesses of a Quantitative Research.
3. Describe the following Kinds of Quantitative Research.
b. Correlational- _________________________________________________________________________________
c. Quasi-experimental - ___________________________________________________________________________
d. Experimental - ________________________________________________________________________________