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Quantitative Research - Types & Data Collection Techniques

Quantitative Research - Types & Data Collection Techniques

Quantitative research is specifically used to identify, collect, and analyze numerical data. It is different from the qualitative research method, which is based on collecting non-numerical data. It has different types, and each type is used for a different purpose.

Quantitative research focuses on numbers and numerical values, while qualitative research is about collecting and evaluating non-numerical data. It attempts to understand its subject matters in its natural setting and actual reality.

It is one of the two major kinds of research; qualitative and quantitative research. It is used in natural and social sciences, including chemistry, biology, economics, sociology, psychology, and marketing.

Conducting research is time taking and talking about quantitative research, collecting and interpreting numerical data is difficult. Due to this, the students have to spend sufficient time conducting this kind of research.

To learn more, read the blog.

Quantitative Research Definition - What is Quantitative Research?

As per the definition, quantitative research is a systematic approach to investigating a phenomenon, fact, or event by collecting numerical data. The students conduct statistical, computational, and mathematical methods to do it.

In quantitative research, the data is collected through online surveys, questionnaires, and online polls.

The results could be converted into helpful information and data. It could be further used to predict and forecast the future of a product or a service. Usually, this kind of research is a part of the social sciences. The researchers use mathematical and statistical theories and other means to analyze the collected data.

The templates used in this kind of research are usually elaborate, objective, and somewhat investigative. The acquired results, through these methods, are neutral, statistical, and logical.

The data conducted on extensive and inclusive samples are used as the representatives of the chosen group of people. Quantitative research has different types and methods, and these are used for different purposes.

Characteristics of Quantitative Research

Here are some distinct features of quantitative research.

Have a look at the complete discussion of these points.

  • Methodical Tools - Tools like surveys, polls, and questionnaires are used to collect quantitative data. Such data collection tools help in collecting more accurate and in-depth responses and information.
  • Extensive Sample - The sample size is quite extensive and represents the main targeted population or market.
  • Questions are Closed-ended - The chosen research questions are based on the research. They are objective-type questions that either have options like ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ This helps to collect extensive data.
  • Previous Research - Various factors and elements of the research are studies before conducting the actual research.
  • Quantifiable Data - The data is presented with graphs, tables, charts, and other forms of statistical data. This makes the data easy to understand and analyze.
  • Inclusive Results - The obtained results could be applied to a wide population.

These characteristics make quantitative research different from qualitative research.

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Types of Quantitative Research Methods for Students and Researchers

‘What are the four types of quantitative research?’

Quantitative research has four distinct types, and all four of them are regarded as primary research methods. Primary quantitative research is more common and useful than secondary research methods. It is mainly because, in them, the researcher collects the data directly.

He does not depend on previous research and collects the data from scratch. Below are the four types of quantitative research methods.

  1. 1. Survey Research

    This type of research is conducted through means of online surveys, online polls, and questionnaires. A group of people is chosen for the survey, and the method is used by big and small organizations and companies. They use it to understand their customers better.

    Ideally, the survey is done through face-to-face meetings and interviews. Now, it is conducted through various online methodologies also. Below are the common types of surveys.

    • Cross-Sectional Survey - This research is conducted on the selected group of people at a certain point in time. The researcher evaluates several things. The selected group of people have similarities in all aspects except the ones chosen by the researcher.

      This kind of research is used for industries like retail, small-scale businesses, and healthcare industries.

    • Longitudinal Survey - This research is based on observing a specific group of people for a set duration. The duration could be days, months, and even years. The researcher observes the change in behavior of the selected group of people.

      This kind of research is used in the fields of applied sciences, medicine, and marketing.

  2. 2. Correlational Research

    Correlational research is conducted to identify the relationship between two entities. These entities must be closely related and have a significant impact on each other.

    This research is conducted to identify, evaluate, and understand the correlation between the variables and how they depend on each other.

    The researchers use mathematical and statistical methods to understand this correlation. Some factors that they consider include relationships, trends, and patterns between these variables.

    Sometimes, the researchers make changes in one of the variables to notice the effect on the other one.

  3. 3. Causal-comparative Research

    This research is also known as quasi-experimental research. It is based on the cause and effect relationship between the two variables. Here, one of the variables is dependent on the other one, but the other one is independent. The researcher does not change the independent variable.

    The research is not limited to statistical analysis only but includes other groups and variables also. The research could be conducted on the variables, no matter the kind of relationship they have. The statistical analysis method is used to acquire the results.

  4. 4. Experimental Research

    This kind of research is based on proving or contradicting a theory or statement. It is also known as true experimentation and is usually focused on single or multiple theories.

    The respective theory is not proved yet, and the research method is commonly used in natural sciences.

    There could be some theories involved in this research. Due to this, it is more common in social sciences.

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Types of Data Collection Methodologies - How to Collect the Data?

After determining the kind of research, finding the right data collection method is the most important step. Data could be collected through both the sampling and surveys and polls method.

Sampling Data Collection Method

In quantitative research, two types of sampling methods are used; probability and non-probability sampling.

  1. 1. Probability Sampling

    The data is collected by sifting some individuals from the general population and creating samples. The individuals, data samples are chosen randomly and without any particular selection criteria.

    Probability sampling is further divided into the following kinds.

    • Simple Random Sampling - This kind of data selection is the simplest one, and the participants are chosen randomly. This kind of sampling is conducted on a large population.
    • Stratified Random Sampling - In this sampling, the population is divided into several groups and strata. The participants for the research are chosen randomly from those groups.
    • Cluster Sampling - In cluster sampling, the population is divided into several clusters based on geography and demography.
    • Systematic Sampling - In this, the samples from the population are chosen at regular intervals. These intervals are predefined, and usually, they are calculated based on the population or size of the target sample.
  2. 2. Non-Probability Sampling

    In this kind of data collection, the researcher uses his knowledge and experience to choose the samples. The researcher is involved and has a set of criteria. Due to this, not all individuals have the chance to be selected for the research.

    Below are the main types of non-probability sampling frameworks.

    • Convenience Sampling - These kinds of samples are probably the easiest to obtain. They are chosen only because they are the easiest ones to obtain. They are usually closer to the researcher, and these samples are easy to work with because there are no rigid parameters.
    • Consecutive Sampling - It is similar to convenience sampling, but the researcher could choose a specific group of people for his research. The researcher could repeat the process with other groups of samples also.
    • Quota Sampling - The researchers select some specific elements based on the researcher’s target personalities and traits. Based on this, different individuals of the groups have equal chances of getting selected.
    • Snowball Sampling - This kind of sampling is done on a target audience or a chosen group that is difficult to contact. In this, the chosen group is difficult to put together.
    • Judgemental Sampling - This kind of sample is built based on the researcher’s skills, experience, and preference.

Survey and Polls Data Collection Method

After the sample or group is chosen, the researcher could use polls or surveys to collect the required research data.

In this kind of research, the data is collected from a selected group of people. The data is used to identify new trends and collect information about different things and topics. Through the survey, the researcher could reach a wider population.

Based on the time allocated for the research, it could be used to collect more information and data.

When creating questions and options for the survey, the researchers use four measurement scales or criteria. These four parameters include nominal, interval, ordinal, and ratio measurement scales. Without them, no multiple-choice questions could be created.

The questions used for the survey must be close-ended. These could be a mix of different kinds of questions, and the responses could be analyzed through different rating scales.

After creating the survey, the next thing is to distribute it. Below are some of the commonly used survey distribution methods.

  • Email - The most common method of distributing the survey, use email management software to dispense the survey to your selected participants.
  • Buying the Respondents - This is also a quite famous and widely used survey distribution method. Select the respondent and have him respond to the survey. Since the respondents would be knowledgeable, they will help in maximizing the results.
  • Embedding the Survey on a Website - This is a great way of getting more responses and targeted results. Embedding the survey on a website works because the researcher is at the right place and close to the brand.
  • Social Distribution - Distributing the survey through a social media platform helps collect more responses from the right audience.
  • QR Code - The survey is stored in the QR code, and it is printed in magazines or on business cards.
  • SMS Survey - It is the most convenient way of collecting more responses and data.

Like surveys, polls are also used to collect the data. It also has close-ended quantitative research questions, and election and exit polls are commonly used in this survey.

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Quantitative Research Data Analysis Techniques

Data analysis is the third important aspect of quantitative research. After collecting the data, the data is analyzed with statistical methods. When analyzing, it is important that the results are relevant and related to the objective and aim of the research.

Below are some common statistical analysis methods that are used to analyze the collected data.

  • SWOT Analysis - It stands for Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threat. Businesses use this kind of analysis to evaluate their performance and develop appropriate strategies.
  • Conjoint Analysis - This kind of analysis helps businesses to identify how customers make difficult purchasing decisions. The businesses involved in direct sales and purchases know this and use the analysis to make the decisions.
  • Cross-tabulation - A preliminary statistical analysis helps understand patterns, trends, and relationships between the various factors of the research.
  • TURF Analysis - stands for Totally Unduplicated Reach and Frequency Analysis. It is conducted to collect and analyze the data and responses of a chosen or favored target group.

Afterward, other methods like inferential statistics could be used to gather the results.

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Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Quantitative and qualitative research are major kinds of research. They are mainly used in the subjects that follow detailed research patterns. How does it differ from quantitative research? Below is a detailed comparison of the two kinds of research.

Quantitative Research vs. Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research Research Perspective Qualitative Research
Test the hypothesis and analyze research aspects and questions Aim of the Research Find new ideas and research new elements
Testing and analyzing Research Method Observation and interpretation of the results
Properly structured Data Collection Method Unstructured
Uninvolved and the results are all-inclusive Involvement of the Researcher Involved and the results are detailed
Samples are large, and results are generalized Sampling Samples are small and in their natural state

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Advantages and Strengths of Quantitative Research

Quantitative research offers several advantages to researchers. Some of the main reasons why researchers use this kind of research are discussed below.

  • The Data could be Replicated - The research and study could be replicated. The data collection methods and definitions of the concepts are clear and easy to understand.
  • The Results could be Compared Easily - The same study could be conducted in different cultural settings and sample groups. The results could also be compared statistically.
  • Usage of Large Samples - Data and information from large samples could be processed and analyzed using different research procedures.
  • Hypothesis Could be Tested - The researcher could use formal hypothesis testing. He could report the data collection, research variables, research predictions, and testing techniques before forecasting and establishing any conclusion.
  • The Data Collection is Quick - The data could be collected easily and from a wider population. The usage of statistical methods and conducting and analyzing results is also easy and to the point.
  • The Data Analysis is Inclusive - Quantitative data and research offer a wider population for sampling. They could be analyzed through research and analysis procedures.

Due to all of these advantages, researchers prefer using this kind of research method. It is easy to sample, collect and analyze data and repeat the procedure easily.

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Disadvantages and Weaknesses of Quantitative Research

Despite the benefits for the researchers, quantitative research design has some limitations. It may not be suitable for more complex and detailed kinds of topics

Below are some common quantitative research limitations.

  • Superficial - since the research includes limited and precise research samples. In quantitative research, the research is presented in numbers. They could be explained in detail through qualitative data and research.
  • Limited Focus - the focus is narrow and limited, and the researcher would have to ignore other relevant and important variables.
  • Biased Structure - structural biases could exist and affect sampling methods, data collection, and measurement results.
  • Lack of Proper Conditions - sometimes, quantitative research may not include other important factors to collect the data.

Due to these reasons, quantitative research is not an ideal choice for detailed kinds of research. For them, qualitative research works better.

To help you further, we have added some useful examples of quantitative research here.

Quantitative Research Examples

Below are some helpful quantitative research examples to help you understand it better.

Sample Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research Example for Students

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Frequently asked questions

What are the tools used in quantitative research?

Different methods for collecting data exist. Questionnaires, observations, focus groups and interviews are a few of the most commonly used techniques.

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