Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research
Being one of the most wide-spread methods of research quantitative research presupposes the analysis of certain objects by means of numeric representations and statistical analysis. The main goal of this research is to measure, define and make a report on the correlation of certain elements. Quantitative research is usually conducted by means of collecting statistical data in the form of surveys, questionnaires, interviews and experiments, which are designed to determine opinion of people or certain trends in the society. According to the author of the article “The advantages and disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative research methods” Rob O’Neill, quantitative research is “built upon the ‘positivism’ paradigm, and is perceived as the scientific approach to research employing ‘experimental’ and ‘quasi-experimental’ strategies (O’Neill, 2005). Received findings serve as representative characteristics used to describe the total population rather than some of its parts. Data that is being collected from various sources is easily analyzed and interpreted into useful information for the researchers. Techniques that are used in quantitative research are also included into so-called primary research. Quantitative research is very often opposed to qualitative research, from which it differs in several ways. In contrast to qualitative research, “the use of standardized methods in quantitative research allows for greater objectivity and accuracy of results” (O’Neill, 2005), which means that the data received is more objective and the instruments that are used in research are more structured. Quantitative research provides generalized data on the objects that are being analyzed, thus, the information is not so detailed on behaviour and attitudes of the subject matters. Another characteristic feature of quantitative research is that it “usually involves few variables and many cases, and employs prescribed procedures to ensure validity and reliability” (O’Neill, 2005). Thus, this type of research if often repeated due to the high level of reliability it possesses. Quantitative research is based upon deductive methods and theories, which are usually analyzed in a “cause effect order”. It is concentrated on the four major goals, which include: to generalize the received facts, to predict the trends for the future, to “explain, and understand some phenomenon” (Creswell, 1997). Despite of the fact that qualitative and quantitative researches have their own followers and opponents “both research methods have their own individual strengths and weaknesses” (O’Neill, 2005). However, there is an assumption made by some of the scientists that “the skilled researcher can successfully combine approaches” (Seigle, 2003). The most wide-spread techniques of quantitative research are observation, survey techniques and experiments.
Speaking about the usage of quantitative researches in education it is necessary to underline the fact that both “quantitative and qualitative research approaches in education have arisen from different research needs” (Hara, 1995). Katsuko Hara, the author of the article “Quantitative and Qualitative Research Approaches in Education” characterizes the use of quantitative research in education in the following way. Firs of all it is stated that “the quantitative research approach endlessly pursues facts while the qualitative research approach recognizes that the researcher’s viewpoint is central” (Hara, 1995). Also, Katsuko Hara states that “the quantitative research approach is used when the researcher desires to obtain entire trends or statistical truth in the research while the qualitative research approach is used if the researcher wants to observe in detail by his/her own research viewpoint” (Hara, 1995). The usefulness of quantitative research in education is conditioned by certain characteristic features of this type of research. The purposes and the methods used in quantitative research effectively display the trends existing in educational sphere of life. The explanations provided by this type of research are supported by numeric calculations and logic deductions. Obvious advantage of quantitative research in education is that it is based on “neutral activity from the researchers’ subjective viewpoint” (Hara, 1995). Thus, the need to use so-called “neutral, scientific language” in quantitative research for educational purposes appeared. This was done in order to make quantitative research applicable and acceptable all over the world. Because quantitative research employs objective methods of analysis and uses numeric explanation of the received data, it avoids researchers’ subjectivity, making the results of research even more valuable. Thus, the results of quantitative research can be used in education in any cultural environment regardless of nationality, race and language of the educators who use them. It is important to note another integral feature of quantitative research known as generalizability, which can be achieved by using neutral scientific languages understood by every member of scientific environment. Quantitative research in education is very effective because its results are “derived by discovering exact facts and, therefore, the same research methods and the results are generalized” (Hara, 1995).
There are two approaches in quantitative research – experimental and non-experimental. The main purpose of experimental quantitative research is to study the causes and effects of correlations. Experimental approach presupposes the usage of manipulation of independent variables, while in non-experimental approach “variables of interest are not manipulable” (Johnson, 2001). Non-experimental approach is represented by two methods, which are causal-comparative research and correlational research. Both methods of non-experimental approach in quantitative research use attribute variables, which cannot be manipulated. Such attribute variables include “gender, parenting style, learning style, ethnic group, college major, party identification, type of school, marital status of parents, retention in grade, type of disability, presence or absence of an illness, drug or tobacco use, and any personality trait that is operationalized as a categorical variable” (Johnson, 2001). It is necessary to underline the fact that non-experimental methods are more widely used by the researchers because “many important variables of interest are not manipulable”.
In conclusion, quantitative research is an effective mean of conducting analysis of various phenomena in many spheres of life. Its effectiveness is conditioned by the usage of neutral language and generalizability, which makes the results of the research applicable in all sciences.

Bibliography
Hara, K. (1995). Quantitative and Qualitative Research Approaches in Education. Education, Vol. 115.
Johnson, B. (2001). Toward a New Classification of Non-experimental Quantitative Research. Educational Researcher, Vol. 30, No. 2.
O’Neill, R. (2005). The Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative and Quantitative Research methods. Retrieved March 8, 2007 from www.roboneill.co.uk/papers/research_methods.pdf
Siegle, D. (2003). Qalitative versus Quantitative. Retrieved March 8, 2007 from www.gifted.uconn.edu/siegle/research/Qualitative/qualquan.htm
Creswell, W. (1997). Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Retrieved March 8, 2007 from www.unr.edu/bench/chap04.pdf