Making sense of the world has never been simple. As humans, we try to find patterns to create meaning from the world around us. A lot of this meaning is derived from numbers. The power of numerical data is always present in scientific research. In other fields of study as well, quantitative measures are essential to reliable research.
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Data collection has continuously improved over the years. So many of the research practices currently used by scientists are the result of developments that aim to ensure more reliable research outcomes. Integrity in data will, after all, result in integrity in results.
What Are Quantitative Methods?
Quantitative methods are research methods in which numerical data is used. They are always in number form and use statistics and mathematics to draw conclusions.
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Hypothesis tests are also used in the research process. Before applying statistical methods to data, a hypothesis must first be formed. Through quantitative methods, the data will help show whether the hypothesis is true.
If there are no numbers involved, then the research method is not quantitative. Some common sources of quantitative data are surveys, observations, and secondary data.
What Are Quantitative Methods Used For?
Quantitative methods are used for all types of studies that involve measuring data in numeric form. Quantitative research methodologies can be used in social sciences, social and behavioral science, finance, economics, and business analytics.
Below are some of the types of research in which quantitative methods can be used.
- Correlational research. This type of research investigates the relationship between variables. Do they have a positive or negative correlation? Or, do they have any correlation at all?
- Descriptive research. This research seeks quantifiable answers to questions starting with what, where, when, and how. Some examples of this are surveys and observations.
- Experimental research. This is the best-known type of quantitative method because it involves a cause-and-effect relationship. When conducting experimental research, you must form a hypothesis before proceeding with statistical analysis of the data.
Types of Quantitative Methods
There are several types of quantitative methods that you can use in conducting your research. Of course, you should ensure that you are picking the one that best fits your field of study.
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Before getting into the types of quantitative methods, you should get familiar with the different levels of measurement used in the methods. These levels listed below are commonly used in quantitative methods to compare numerical results.
- Nominal. In a nominal scale, samples are placed into categories. Once placed into categories, the data can be counted.
- Ordinal. In this type of measurement, samples are ordered by rank. For example, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, and so on.
- Interval. This is a combination of classifying and ordering measures. Zero has meaning in this scale. For instance, 0 degrees Fahrenheit does not mean the absence of temperature.
- Ratio. This scale is similar to interval except zero now means the absence of something. For instance, 0 kilograms means a lack of weight.
In an experiment, a hypothesis is formed and tested. There is always a control variable against which the effect of its influence on an independent variable is measured. This is a way to find out if there is a cause-and-effect relationship.
When conducting an experiment, you must always start with a few theories, then try to prove if they are true based on your data and results. The quantitative data will either accept or reject the theory.
In the context of quantitative methods, experiments are predominantly used in the sciences to answer a hypothesis. They can also be used in other fields to study the behavior of a group of people.
A survey is a set of questionnaires targeting a specific group. The goal is to find whether a majority of a sample of people agree on a particular statement or idea.
Surveys are quantitative in nature, as they are always measured in numbers. Emotions, impressions, and observations are quantified in order to get a consensus among the respondents. The respondents are selected based on certain parameters.
Surveys have become popular because they can now be conducted through online forms, such as Google and Survey Monkey.
An observation is simply the act of counting how many times a certain phenomenon has occurred. For example, you could count how many times a specific word was mentioned during an interview.
Observation is all about looking for a pattern and monitoring a specific behavior that jumps out. It is important to note, however, that observation can also be qualitative data, so by using it, you are actually using mixed methods.
Secondary research is gathering data from various existing work. It means making use of findings by other scientists if first-hand gathering is not feasible.
One of the most notable samples of secondary research is extracting financial data from years past. These can be used as historical data to compare and predict the future performance of a bond or a stock.
Historical data serves as the foundation for a lot of current research. Through secondary resources, it is possible to compare track progress.
Learning Quantitative Methods
If you learn more about quantitative methods, you can ensure that your research has integrity. By familiarizing yourself with the correct methods and processes, you can be confident in the results of your work.
Moreover, there are many careers available in research. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a market research analyst can earn as much as $63,790 per year. The job outlook is also projected to grow by as much as 18 percent in the next 10 years.
How Long Does It Take to Learn Quantitative Methods?
Quantitative methods don’t take too long to learn. Once you are familiar with the process, you can conduct studies easily.
From high school through postgraduate studies, these quantitative methods will be your reliable companion. With qualitative and quantitative research methods combined, you will have all the skills you need to conduct research.
How to Learn Quantitative Methods: Step-by-Step
To learn how to use quantitative methods in your research, you should follow the following steps:
- Choose a subject: Decide the topic that you want to explore.
- Develop questions: Once you decide on a topic, you can develop the research questions you want to answer.
- Create a hypothesis: Then, develop your hypotheses based on your research questions.
- Collect data: Collect the data that you will need to analyze using the quantitative method appropriate for your study.
- Analyze information: You can now apply statistical analysis to the data using statistical tools like SPSS and Python.
- Review hypotheses: Interpret the data to see whether it matches with your hypotheses.
- Share results: Make sure to share the results and analysis with others for review.
The Best Quantitative Methods Courses and Training
Even in the midst of the pandemic, you can find ways to satisfy your interest in quantitative methods of research. There are many online courses and classes available for you to choose from to study quantitative methods. Some of them also come with certificates.
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Below are some of the available classes on quantitative methods.
The course is for those who are interested in learning quantitative research methods. You must already be familiar with basic statistics terms to succeed in this class. The course covers the step-by-step process of how to conduct quantitative research.
It will focus on methods of data collection and data analytics techniques. Although this is not a course on data analytics, some basic topics of data collection will be covered.
The course is self-study and includes four hours of video lectures. There are also assignments you can work on to test your skills as you progress.
In this free Coursera course on quantitative methods, you will discover the scientific methods behind all types of research. The course is part of a five-part lecture on methods and statistics in social sciences.
This lecture covers the use of quantitative methods in all fields, including history and philosophy. Deadlines are flexible so you can submit your assignments at your leisure. The course will instill in you a strong sense of research integrity.
Harvard Business School offers this course as an introduction to statistical methods in business. There will be discussions on management and making decisions based on these results.
The course is intended for students looking to go into management. To become an effective manager, you must be knowledgeable in these research methods.
The course is interactive, so all participants are given the chance to show their skills. Enrollees who pass the final assessment will receive a certificate of completion.
This is a four-week course offered via UC Davis focused on quantitative research in marketing. In the course, you will gain insight into how you can use quantitative research to strategize.
Each week will cover different topics within the field of market research, starting with how to choose the correct quantitative method to use for a particular study or research.
Over the weeks, you will design your own research and test hypothesis, analyze statistic models, and predict the outcome of studies. This course is part of a specialization in market research, but you can still take it as a standalone.
In this course, you will learn various approaches to statistics. Topics that will be covered include R programming, Regression Analysis, and Analysis of Variance.
As this is a five-part specialization course, you will be expected to make a 10-month learning commitment. By the end of the course, you will have developed your own research question, started data collection, and analyzed the proper quantitative method to use.
Should You Study Quantitative Methods?
There is no doubt that quantitative methods can be used in a wide range of research. It is universally used in many disciplines worldwide. Whether used in a scientific study, business analysis, or financial tool, quantitative methods are a necessity for research.
Getting equipped with the right knowledge in statistical methods will allow you to excel in your field of study. It’s a skill that you can apply to many scenarios later in your career.
Take the opportunity now to sign up for one of the online courses on quantitative methods listed above.
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