Research Writing

Data collection methods in quantitative research

The quantitative methods for data collection are used for accounting attributes, attitudes, behavior and other variables defined in order to support or oppose the hypothesis of a specific phenomenon by contextualization of data obtained through interviews or surveys. Data collection methods in quantitative research

As a researcher, you have the option of opting for online data collection or using traditional data collection methods through quantitative research . However, you will need computational, statistical and mathematical tools to obtain results.

Characteristics of quantitative methods

The goal of quantitative methods for an investigation is to determine the relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable within a population. 

Quantitative research deals with numbers, logic, and an objective position. In addition, it focuses on collecting numerical data and generating a variety of ideas about a research problem spontaneously.

The main characteristics of quantitative methods are: Data collection methods in quantitative research

  • Data is generally collected using structured research instruments.
  • In the quantitative method , the sample size is larger.
  • The research study can generally be replicated or repeated, given its high reliability.
  • The question to be applied is clearly stated and ready to record objective answers.
  • All aspects of the study are carefully designed prior to data collection .
  • The data is in the form of numbers and statistics, often organized in tables, charts, figures, or other non-textual forms.
  • The project can be used to generalize concepts more broadly, predict future outcomes, or investigate causal relationships.
  • The researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or computer software, to collect numerical data.

The overall goal of a quantitative research study is to classify features, count them, and build statistical models in an attempt to explain what is observed.

Advantages of using quantitative methods for an investigation

Among the main ones of the use of quantitative methods to carry out an investigation, are the following:

  • It allows a larger study, which involves a greater number of subjects and improves the generalizability of the results.
  • It allows greater objectivity and precision of the results. In general, quantitative methods are designed to provide data summaries that support generalizations about the phenomenon under study. To accomplish this, it involves few variables and many cases, and employs prescribed procedures to ensure validity and reliability.
  • The application of well-established standards means that research can be replicated, then analyzed, and compared with similar studies.
  • You can summarize vast sources of information and make comparisons between categories and over time.
  • Personal bias can be avoided by maintaining a distance from the study sample and using accepted computational techniques.

Disadvantages of using quantitative methods in an investigation

Some limitations of quantitative methods are as follows:

  • Quantitative data is more efficient and capable of hypothesis testing, but can lose contextual details.
  • It uses a static and rigid approach, therefore it employs an inflexible discovery process.
  • The development of standard questions by researchers can lead to structural bias and misrepresentation, where the data actually reflects the opinion of the researcher rather than the participating subject.
  • The results provide less detail on behavior, attitudes, and motivation.
  • The data collection process is much more limited and generally superficial.
  • The results are limited, provide numerical and generally less elaborate descriptions of the perception of the study subjects. Data collection methods in quantitative research

Quantitative data collection methods

The quantitative data are commonly used to study the events or levels of concurrency and collected through a structured questionnaire that asks questions that usually begin with how much or how many. 

As quantitative data collection methods are numerical in nature, they represent both definitive and objective information. 

Quantitative data are divided into discrete, that is, when they have finite and continuous numbers, when they have the possibility of having fractions and decimals. 

Any traditional or online data collection method that aids in the collection of numerical data is a quantitative method of data collection.

Quantitative data collection methods

Probability sampling

It is a definitive method of sampling that uses some form of random selection and allows researchers to make a probability statement based on data collected randomly from the target population. 

One of the best things about probability sampling is that it allows researchers to collect data from representatives of the population they are interested in studying. In addition, data is collected randomly from the selected sample, ruling out the possibility of sampling bias. 

There are three main types of probability sampling:

  • Simple Random Sampling: Most often the target demographic is chosen for inclusion in the sample.
  • Systematic sampling: Any of the target demographic groups would be sampled, but only the first unit for inclusion in the sample is randomly selected.
  • Stratified sampling: Gives the opportunity to select each unit from a particular group of the target audience while creating a sample. It is useful when researchers are selective about including a particular group of people in the sample, that is, only men or women, managers or executives, people who work in a specific industry. 

Interviews

The interviews are a very popular tool for information. However, quantitative data collection methods are more structured and researchers only ask for a standard set of questionnaires and nothing more than that. 

There are three main types of interviews conducted for data collection:

  • Telephone interviews: For years, telephone interviews dominated the tables of data collection methods. However, today there is a significant increase in conducting video interviews over the Internet, Skype or similar online video calling platforms.
  • Face-to-face interviews: It is a proven technique to collect data directly from the participants. It aids in acquiring quality information by offering the ability to ask detailed questions and dig deeper to collect rich and informative data. Although it can be an expensive and time-consuming method, response rates are often higher.
  • Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI): It is nothing more than a similar configuration of the face-to-face interview, in which the interviewer carries a computer with him to upload the data obtained from the interview directly into the database. A CAPI survey saves a lot of time in updating and processing the data and also makes the whole process paperless as the interviewer does not use a lot of papers and questionnaires. Data collection methods in quantitative research

Surveys and questionnaires

Surveys or questionnaires are quantitative data collection methods that can be conducted using online survey software . 

The surveys are designed to legitimize the behavior and confidence of respondents. Most often, rating scale questions make up the bulk of quantitative surveys, helping to simplify and quantify the attitude or behavior of respondents. 

There are two main types of survey questionnaires that are used to collect data online for quantitative market research. 

  • Web survey : This is one of the most reliable methods for online research. A web-based questionnaire is received with an email containing the survey link. Being a cost-effective, faster and more far-reaching survey, web-based surveys are preferred by researchers. The main benefit is flexibility, respondents are free to answer the survey at their leisure, whether using a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.
  • Email survey : Here, the survey is mailed to a large number of the sample population, allowing the researcher to connect with a wide range of audiences. The email questionnaire explains why the investigation is being carried out. Although the mail-in questionnaire has a higher turnover rate and, compared to other quantitative data collection methods, certain benefits, such as reminders and incentives to complete the survey, help to dramatically improve the turnover rate.

    One of the main benefits of the email questionnaire is that all responses can be anonymous and it allows respondents to take as much time as they wish to complete the survey and be completely honest about the answer without fear of prejudice. Data collection methods in quantitative research

Observation

In this method, researchers collect quantitative data through systematic observations using techniques such as counting the number of people present at a specific event and at a specific location or the number of people attending the event at a designated location. For data collection through quantitative methods, researchers have a naturalistic observational approach that needs observation skills and acute sense to obtain numerical data on the “what” and not on the “why” and the “how”. 

Structured observation

In this type of observational method, the researcher has to make careful observations of one or more specific behaviors in a more sympathetic or structured setting.

In structured observation, researchers focus only on very specific behaviors of interest and quantify the behaviors. When observations require judgment, it is often described as coding, so it is necessary to have a clear definition of a set of target behaviors. 

Document Review 

Document review is one of the most widely used quantitative data collection methods, this process is used to collect data after reviewing existing documents. 

It is an efficient and effective way to collect data, as the documents are manageable and are the practical resource for obtaining qualified data from the past. 

In addition to strengthening and supporting research by providing supplemental data, research document review has emerged as one of the beneficial methods for collecting quantitative research data. 

There are three main types of documents that are being analyzed to collect quantitative research data: Data collection methods in quantitative research

  • Public records: Under this document review, the official and ongoing records of an organization are analyzed for further investigation. Example: annual reports, policy manuals, student activities, etc.
  • Personal Documents: Unlike public documents, this type of document review deals with individual personal accounts of actions, behavior, health, physical, etc. of individuals. For example, the height and weight of the students, the distance they travel to attend school, etc.
  • Physical evidence: Physical evidence or physical documents are about the previous achievements of an individual or an organization in terms of monetary and scalable growth. 

Steps to conduct an investigation using quantitative methods

Next, we have for you the steps to carry out an investigation with the help of quantitative methods

Identify the research problem: You must clearly and concisely state the problem of your research study.

Review the previous information : Review the studies previously carried out on the subject, Observe where there are key elements that can be clarified.

Describe the theoretical framework: Provide a summary of the theory or hypothesis that support the study. If necessary, define unfamiliar or complex concepts and provide background information to place the research problem in the proper context.

Methodology : The quantitative methods section for an investigation should describe how each objective of the study will be achieved. Be sure to provide enough detail so that the reader can make an informed assessment of the methods used to obtain results associated with the study. 

Results : The research finding should be written objectively. In quantitative studies, it is common to use graphs, tables, charts, and other non-textual elements to help the reader understand the data. Make sure to use elements that help you clarify the key points. Data collection methods in quantitative research

Conclusion : The discussions generated by the study must be analytical, logical and exhaustive. In addition, you should combine the findings in relation to those identified in the literature review, and place them within the context of the theoretical framework that supports the study. He ends by summarizing the topic and provides a final comment and evaluation of the study.

Importance of quantitative methods for data collection

Quantitative data does not refer to convergent reasoning, but to divergent reasoning. It is a numerical, logical and objective position, focusing on numerical and invariant data. 

Although there are many other quantitative methods for collecting data, the ones mentioned above are the most common and widely used, both for offline data collection and online data collection. 

Quantitative data collection methods are comprehensive and perhaps the only ones that could show analytical results in tables and graphs. Quality information will give you accurate results, which makes this process the most important for your research. 

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