Quantitative Research Methods in Term Papers

Gloria Hamilton 15/12/10 10:48 AM

When you are writing a term paper you need to sort out the approach of your research and there are two methods for that. Qualitative and quantitative methods. In this article I have decided to share productive knowledge about quantitative research techniques and I am sure you have an enough ground to learn.

Quantitative Research Methods

The quantitative approach is a method that is more versed in systematic scientific research, in that it is the accumulation of measurable (and numerical) quantities that then undergo an analysis in order to prove hypothesizes and to formulate laws. Analysis can be just the simple presentation of tables and diagrams showing the collected data (descriptive statistics), or it can be a rigorous mathematical treatment of the data (inferential statistics).

In quantitative research, a hypothesis or a theory is always proposed to be examined. The end result is that the hypothesis (or theory) is either accepted or rejected. The collected numerical data should be within the range of the phenomena and can be either discrete or continuous. It can be categorical (pick a choice), ordinal (arranged on a scale), intervallic and informative (timed observations and counting cases), or represent ratios between different variables.

Apart from that here are some data collection techniques:

Data Collection Techniques

Questionnaires

Designing a questionnaire is rarely a straightforward undertaking and a lot of planning should go into it. Nowadays the most common method of conducting a questionnaire is to post it on the Internet, either on your own site or using one of the many available Internet sites that provide such a service – for example surveymonkey.com.

Experiments

This is another option, where the environment in which the investigation is conducted is changed (manipulated) and the effect on the participants is noted. Experiments try to establish the relation between cause and effect: whether a change in one of the independent variables produces an effect on the dependent variable.

It is easier to conduct these controlled experiments in a natural sciences laboratory (e.g. physics, chemistry) rather than in business and management where continuous changes defy control. Nevertheless, these approaches can be applied sometimes as well.

Five stages approach to experimentation:

1. Identify a problem that is agreeable to the experimental method
2. Formulate the hypothesis and identify the variables
3. Chose the subjects to be tested
4. Select the suitable experiment design
5. Carry out the experiment and collect the data

Sampling
As it is impossible in most cases to survey every member of a population under study, we have to limit ourselves to a smaller sample of the population.
There are two major decisions to be made regarding the sample:

1. Who to sample so that the sampling frame correctly represents the population
2. What the sample size should be so that the results will be meaningful

In most cases a random sampling is used, which is where each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected. There are several techniques for choosing a population sample, and they must be as unbiased as possible. One technique involves assigning each member of a population a number, starting at 0, and using a random number generator to pick numbers (and thus members) from the population. Another method primarily used if the population is very large is to sort the population by a key (name, ID number) and then pick every nth member.

In another technique that leads to non-random sampling, a population is divided into distinct groups (men-women, managers-workers, etc.), which are then sampled randomly. The groups are then randomly sampled to create the research sample. This technique ensures that both groups are represented in the sample.

That’s all for today and don’t forget to include references and bibliography at the end of your paper.

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