What is Quantitative Research?
Welcome to our new series, which focuses on the quantitative (empirical) research. The series is intended for all those interested in online research and surveying and not only in the online environment. In each episode you will be presented with the general framework of quantitative research. We will begin with simplified characteristic, continue with research problem formulation and finish with sample selection issues.
The series will come out regularly every Monday, in 3 sets for 9 weeks. First few introductory articles will be followed by a series oriented on creation of correct and simple questionnaires. In closing during the remaining time we will focus on a specific category of quantitative research – online surveys.
What is the quantitative research?
Quantitative research is a method used for data collection, both scientific and non-scientific investigation, which aims to describe the investigated area. This research can be carried out in many different ways, however (online) survey is the one most often used, because of its simplicity and low demands.
By quantitative research method we understand such data collection, which is aimed at the large number of respondents. In most cases these respondents record their answers in questionnaires, which are then processed and statistically evaluated.
Quantitative research methods
Quantitative research is also often associated with the qualitative research. Typical research methods are:
- Survey (questionnaire)
- Secondary data (data that someone already collected)
- Experiments (controlled and planned groups)
To choose the correct research method every researcher should ask himself following questions (we will deal with question formulation issues in the next episode):
- What is the subject of his investigation?
- Who is his target audience?
- How much money does he have?
- What does he want to achieve?
- Where does he stand?
Following chart indicates the differences between quantitative and qualitative data collection:
|The survey sample group is a large number of respondents||The survey sample group is a small number of respondents|
|It is carried out largely by questionnaires||It is carried out largely by personal interviews|
|It examines the issues marginally||It examines the issues in depth|
|Time undemanding||Time demanding|
|Deduction* from results||Induction* from results|
|Statistical data processing||Non-statistical data processing|
Scheme of the research process
The following picture shows typical research process – from unsuitable status to conclusions formulation.
- Unsuitable status – you have an issue, which you want to find a solution for, but do not know how.
- Hypotheses formulation – creation of an assumption of the current unsuitable status and method to correct this problem.
- Selection of the research method – purposeful selection of the research method based on predefined hypotheses and survey questions.
- Data collection – actual process of gathering answers from respondents using chosen method of data collection.
- Data analysis – processing of collected data from data gathering process.
- Conclusion implement – implementation of new findings from whole survey process into the unsuitable status of the “project”.
Advantages of the quantitative research
- If you choose this method (a questionnaire for quantitative survey), it will come back with great many responses – answers – from clients, customers, users and other groups of residents, which you or your organization have focused on. Based on statistical processing of quantitatively collected data you can use your findings to more effective decision making, more exact planning, communication with customers, etc.
- This method is also characterized by being faster, cheaper and manageable by individuals, especially if an online questionnaire is used for data collection.
Disadvantages of the quantitative research
- Results of the quantitative survey may be too general. They are not always able to describe an issue in depth.
- A researcher can miss out the important qualities of the studied sample, because he concentrates on concrete problem and does not count in wider area of the problem.
In the next episode we will focus on formulation of the survey problem and steps associated with it that are important for successful managing of the whole survey process.