What Is quantitative research?

Written by dirk huds Google
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What Is quantitative research?
Quantitative research analyses frequency of incidence. (NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

There are a variety of methodological techniques that researchers use to collect information. One of these is quantitative research. This form of methodology is largely numeric in focus and emphasises a large sample size to support conclusions.  It is often contrasted with qualitative research, and has both advantages and disadvantages in a research setting.

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Characteristics

Quantitative research focuses on numeric data. It tends to use simple conceptions of data gathering, such as questionnaires, that can be administered to a large sample of subjects. The resulting data is typically analysed for trends and enumeration of instance. The data is often presented in the form of tables, charts and graphs.

Benefits

Quantitative research enables the researcher to gather data from a large number of subjects. It is useful for gathering data and analysing trends in a relatively short time frame. A large amount of data generally results in more accurate conclusions and helps to eliminate bias by surveying a representative or suitably diverse sample. Quantitative research is also beneficial in that its methodology is easily replicable, allowing for repeat experiments to provide reliability and control data.

Disadvantages

Quantitative research focuses on the incidence of an occurrence; it does not ask why something happens. As such, it is a descriptive methodology. This is useful for certain tasks, but may lack depth with regard to causality. It is often claimed that quantitative research is concerned with proof of something already existing as opposed to discovery of new knowledge.

Difference from qualitative research

Quantitative research is often presented as the opposite methodology from qualitative research. The latter emphasises a depth of inquiry, often using interviews and observation, to analyse subjects, with the researcher placing themselves in the "field." The resulting data is often presented in transcript or essay form. As such, its sample base tends to be smaller and the methodology cannot be replicated easily.

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