Quantitative Research


Understanding scientific research

Anyone who has faced the need to develop scientific work, from a CBT or monograph to a master's thesis or doctoral thesis, whether at the level of scientific initiation, undergraduate, or graduate, may run into this research approach.

All research is a process that is essentially systematic.

Because of this, the objective is to offer answers to the proposed problems. Thus, the research takes shape from a process of multiple stages, going through the formulation of the problem, the presentation of the theoretical framework and methodology and the discussion of the results.

It is worth stating that a systematized research is crucial for any academic work to gain validity, and for this, the objectives, research problems and methodology need to be well defined. The research approach is elementary.

Defining quantitative research

The first thing that needs to be reiterated about this research approach is that, logically, quantitative research can be deduced already by the name it receives, since it points to the idea of quantity. Therefore, keeping this in mind is important to understand the scope of this approach.

It is interesting for all those studies that need to measure and quantify various data, such as to obtain certain data that will confirm or challenge the initial hypotheses raised by a survey, as well as operate with different measurements. As a result, the work in development may arrive at the most appropriate response to the research problem listed by the study. It is also necessary to affirm the care to be taken in quantitative research.

In this possibility, it is the role of the researcher to focus only on the factual description of the collected results.

Care involved in quantitative research

Due to the limitations of this type of approach, the researcher should take some care. As the proposal requests, all subjective aspects associated with the answers, for example, of the interviewees, should be left out, since this is the role of the qualitative approach.

Care involved in quantitative research

If you want to join the two, bet on a quanti-quali survey, if your object of study allows it. Keeping this in mind is crucial, since both the interpretation and analysis of subjective elements unplayed in a research theme points to the choice of other research methods, typical, therefore, of the qualitative approach.

These limitations are closely related to the purpose of the quantitative approach. Each proposal points to the need for certain choices, for a certain perspective about the object under analysis.

Purpose of quantitative research

Given the scenario we present, we can finally understand the role of quantitative research. It aims to verify a certain hypothesis from statistical mechanisms. To this end, data taxed as concrete and quantifiable were collected, that is, it is part of numbers. It is these numbers, which can be presented from visual elements such as graphs, figures and tables, that provide basis for analysis.

In order to reach these numbers, the researcher is based on questionnaires or other forms of interview. Such instruments have questions that will collect opinions and data that will later be grouped and analyzed from the statistical perspective and its elements.

In order for the approach to be implemented, it must be applied to a representative sample, as only in this way will the results be valid.

Search sampling

In order to apply quantitative research in the appropriate way, one of the most decisive aspects that will help the researcher put the approach into practice is the definition of a research sample.

Search sampling

However, for the sampling to provide the data necessary for the analysis, it is of paramount importance that the sampling in question is representative, that is, the characteristics of the group on which the study is based must be brought to the discussion so that the reader understands the context being taken into account by the research.

Such sampling will promote interesting and accurate data to the academic work in development, regardless of the modality, whether in the context of undergraduate or graduate studies. If the purpose of the quantitative approach is explained, it is currently necessary to present its proper characteristics.

General characteristics of quantitative research

Differently from qualitative research, the results and inferences of the quantitative approach can be quantified, that is, measured and presented from statistics.

These samples are usually large. Moreover, they are also considered as an element that represents an entire population. Due to this, the results are understood as aspects that build a real panorama about the population adopted by the research in question.

Among the main aspects that define quantitative research, there are some that stand out. It is an approach that values objectivity, and thus is influenced by positivism, and thus it is based on the idea that reality can only be understood through the analysis of "raw" data. Such data are collected from standardized and neutral instruments.

The language of quantitative research

The language of quantitative research

Due to the characteristics of this type of approach, quantitative research uses mathematical language to weave its considerations. From this language, it describes the causes related to a phenomenon, as well as points out the relationships between the variables, among other aspects.

Several experts in scientific methodology point out that the combination of the quantitative and qualitative approach, known as quanti-quali, allows the researcher to collect data in a more significant way if they are used in isolation.

It is also pertinent to know the differences between the two possibilities. While quantitative research is part of a positivist view, therefore, logic tends to emphasize the deductive reasoning, the rules of logic and the attributes of human experience that can be measured.

Qualitative research, in turn, reiterates another logic, another way of understanding the research.

Differences between the quantitative and qualitative approach

While quantitative research focuses on logic and what can be measured, quantitative research is part of another place. The latter highlights all the dynamic, holistic and individual elements related to the most diverse experiences and needs of human life.

The intention is to understand the context of all those who are experiencing a certain phenomenon/experience. There are other elements that differentiate the two approaches. Quantitative research focuses on a smaller number of concepts. The research is started with preconceived ideas, relating such ideas with such concepts.

It uses structured procedures, as well as formal instruments to collect the data. This data is collected in a controlled manner. In data collection and analysis, it focuses on objectivity. Numerical data are observed from statistical and mathematical procedures.

Putting quantitative research into practice

Now that you know the scenario that permeates quantitative research, it's important to know how to put this research approach into practice. The first thing you need to take into consideration are the requirements involved with choosing the use of quantitative research.

Putting quantitative research into practice

This process starts with the definition of the search problem you want to work with. Because of this, we believe it is pertinent to open a parenthesis to understand a little more about the definition of such a research problem. In order for a research methodology to be put into practice, rather, some basic elements must be defined.

Without them, a study cannot at least begin to be developed. These elements are the research problem itself, the objectives, that is, the paths that will go to meet these objectives and the methodology.

The basic elements of scientific research

You will notice that these three elements – research problem, objectives and scientific methodology – go together, so that talking about one implies the discussion about the other, since the research only becomes valid if they walk together.

On the first element, it is pertinent to highlight that it is a problem, phenomenon, demand or need. This problem points to some key issues.

First, the problem needs to be sensitive to the Brazilian reality, that is, demand, phenomenon or need needs to be linked to our context. You can also work with a specific region of our country, since it is admitted that the research problem reaches society as a whole or part of it, in this case, a specific social group.

The social group with which you will work

The social group will influence the choice of this problem. Each region of our country points to specific problems and demands, and thus, even if the problem with which it wants to work is something global, it may have to be redefined if it wants to work with this particular group. If we make these considerations, we can resume the problem itself. In addition to this problem needs to be sensitive to the reality with which you want to work, it is crucial, too, that it refers to something that we are experiencing at this moment.

In other words, it is necessary to evaluate what prevents quality of life in this context, we must choose something current and that is relevant to the group with which we want to work and contribute. It may be that your problem does not have a solution, but it does not mean that your study is not valid, because every study proposes a new look and reflection, helping others to come up with a solution.

Application of quantitative research

After the proper considerations about the pillars of scientific research, we can turn our gaze, again, to the application of this research approach. It is natural that the very theme with which you want to work indicates whether or not there is a need to collect, as well as to analyze the data through statistical data, relying on mathematical language, or from other means, qualitative (or mixing the two).

Thus, we want to draw your attention to the fact that if your object of study asks for evidence that can be quantifiable, that is, measured, so that the context is better understood, then the research techniques that will be applied in this specific study will be quantitative, thus conferring the said quality (quantitative – logical – deductive) to the research in development.

Research techniques in the quantitative approach

Knowing what data is needed for the production and development of work is crucial. It is also important to know what data should be collected in order for the planning of quantitative research to be carried out. Therefore, the researcher should choose the best approach and, then, his role is to describe the related techniques and this data collection (typical techniques of quantitative research). The scope of the work in question must also be respected.

The techniques involved in quantitative research, in general, are based on the preparation of questionnaires and interviews. These can be put into practice in person or virtually, as applications, software, and digital platforms help the researcher achieve these results quickly. You can count on the phone, email, printed forms, applications, among other multiple possibilities.

The proposition of questions in quantitative research

After knowing what are the quantitative research techniques and choosing them, the time has come to select the questions that will help you, as a researcher, to arrive at the answers necessary to the analysis of the defined research object. Regarding the structure of these questions, the ideal, by virtue of the proposal, is that they be objective, short and clear. Avoiding possible confusion for survey respondents is crucial. It is common for multiple choice questions to be. Moreover, it is necessary to affirm that the choice of the collection technique to be applied is related to the next stage of research planning.

We are referring to the selection of the sample to be researched. For example, if you want to propose a study to know how many Brazilians support a certain government agenda, you would need to select a sample that covers the national territory as a whole.

Due to this scenario, in this case, resing in quantitative research would be the most ideal, and thus, making use of questionnaires applied via e-mail, telephone, forms or applications would help the researcher to reach these necessary data more quickly and dynamically.

On the other hand, in the case of a local research, in which the scholar would concentrate only on a portion of the Brazilian population, then selecting a specific state and/or municipality, one could opt for face-to-face interviews. However, today, from online platforms, you can reach these results faster, without employees having to leave their homes.

Applying the research, one arrives at the presentation of the results, one can use the numbers, data, tables and graphs to demonstrate the results, without attaching themselves to subjective analyses to propose reflections.


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