6 examples of quantitative research (explained)
Examples of quantitative research, with ways to study natural and social phenomena.
One of the most recurrent classical models to carry out certain types of research is the quantitative model.
We will now take a tour of this concept, first to learn about its main qualities and uses, and then to delve into a list with different examples of quantitative research that will complement this previous theoretical introduction.
Understanding quantitative research
Although the main objective of this article is to be able to review a list of examples of quantitative research, it is necessary to have a theoretical basis that allows us to enter this field. Therefore, we will dedicate this first part to review the most important data in this regard.
Quantitative research is a way of doing science through empirical studies whose data are collected by means of numerical tools.. That is, the phenomena observed by the researcher can be quantified and recorded, either statistically, computationally or mathematically in general.
The fundamental difference with qualitative research, as we will discover later in reviewing the list of examples of quantitative research, is that in the latter a number, a value, can be assigned to the condition studied, and it is possible to discover whether it increases or decreases when the subject is exposed to a given stimulus.
With the data collected from the selected population sample, the researcher will be able to extrapolate the conclusions to the total population as a whole, provided that a sufficiently representative sample has been selected and all the study variables have been controlled. This type of research is objective and aims to test the validity of previous hypotheses..
Types of quantitative research
Likewise, before going on to the examples of quantitative research, we must know the typologies of this type of work. We will review them below.
There are several ways of conducting quantitative research. The first of these is descriptive, the simplest but also the most essential, since it refers to the prior observation of the phenomenon. it refers to the prior observation of the phenomenon carried out by the researcher. and on which he has already established the first hypotheses to try to explain what he has recorded.
A more elaborate form is the one we find with analytical research. In this case, an element that is key to the study is introduced: the comparison between the study group and the control group, i.e., between a group that has already been studied and a group that has not been studied.that is, between a group that is subjected to a certain stimulus and a group that is not subjected to it, in order to check what changes are due to that element.
3. Experimental research
In the previous case, it is important to bear in mind that the researcher does not apply any stimulus, but simply observes the group that is receiving it. If, deliberately, the researcher were to apply certain conditions to a group of people and compare it with another group, the control, we would be talking about experimental research.. We will see some cases in the list of examples of quantitative research.
4. Quasi-experimental research
The last type is quasi-experimental research, and is halfway between analytical and experimental. In this case, the selection of participants in the groups is not random, but rather individuals are selected deliberately in an attempt to balance the conditions of the groups. to try to balance the conditions of one group and the other.
Different examples of quantitative research
After establishing a knowledge base about this subject, it is time to delve into the examples of quantitative research, with which we will acquire a complete perspective of this type of studies. Here are some of the most representative ones.
One of the easiest ways to visualize the concept at hand is to think of studies to test the efficacy of a given drug, something that is done all the time but is perhaps more visible in recent times due to the bombardment of information related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tests that are done to test potential vaccines are one of the examples of quantitative research.
In this case, two groups are developed, an experimental group, which is given the potential vaccine, and a control group, which is given only a placebo.. After some time, the infection rates experienced by both groups are compared and it is concluded that the difference in favor of the experimental group is the effectiveness rate of the vaccine in question. Within the types we saw before, this would be an example of experimental research.
2. Species characteristics
If, on the other hand, we want to visualize a case of descriptive research, we could think of the work zoologists do when they find a new species. They record all the measurements of the individual found to establish what the average characteristics of that animal are. The difference with the previous example is that in this case, the researcher is limited to describing what he is seeing, without influencing the subject at all.
This would be another example of quantitative research that helps us to better understand what types of study we can find.
3. Satisfaction surveys
Another of the typical cases in which any person may have participated at some time are the well-known satisfaction surveys. Many companies and organizations contact the users of their products or services after the consumption of these, to propose a few brief questions aimed at giving a numerical value to their satisfaction. It can be through a phone call, automated or not, through an e-mail or other methods.
It is a method used constantly, as it allows companies to obtain very valuable statistical information at a reduced cost, which helps them to improve the quality of their services. Therefore, it is one of the clearest and most abundant examples of quantitative research that we find in our day to day.
4. Audience measurement
Also in the commercial field, another of the most common techniques is to the measurement of the audiences of the audiovisual content published, or, in other words, the impact of this content on the audience.. These studies can be adapted to the media in which the campaign in question has been launched. For example, in the more traditional media, such as television or radio, audience measurements are taken.
In more modern platforms, such as publications on social networks, the impact is measured through different factors, such as the number of views received, the number of interactions ("likes" or equivalent, comments, times shared, etc.) or the number of clicks on the hyperlink.
All these data are mathematically quantified and allow the researcher to perform a detailed analysis of the level of success of the campaign.. It would be, therefore, one of the examples of quantitative research that we should take into account due to its usefulness and frequency of use.
5. Psychological experiments
Of course, we cannot forget psychological experiments as another example of quantitative research. We find an infinite number of them, and of many different categories. Most of these studies are of the experimental type, that is, with a group that will be affected by a variable introduced by the researcher, and in comparison with a control group, which will not be subjected to such a change.
Thanks to this work, experimental psychology has been able to accumulate a great deal of knowledge about the functioning of the human mind, establishing associations about the responses that the researcher has made.The results of these studies have allowed us to establish associations about the responses that individuals tend to emit in the face of a specific stimulus and under certain conditions.
6. General statistics
National organizations, such as the National Institute of Statistics, in the case of Spain, are engaged in an enormous amount of quantitative research. Thanks to these registries, other researchers can benefit from the huge collection of data and analyze it for the studies they are carrying out.. This type of database offers information about a multitude of variables that affect the population of a territory.
We can segment the population according to variables such as sex, age, the region in which they live, the degree of education attained, the labor sector in which they are included, and many others. It is also possible to consult statistics on birth rates, mortality, criminality, and other different issues. These data are public, so anyone can use them to carry out studies and generate new knowledge.
This would be the last of the different examples of quantitative research that we have been able to review, which have helped us to complement that first theoretical introduction with which the article began, so that we can now have the full perspective of the implications of this way of doing science.
- Holton, E.F., Burnett, M.F. (2005). The basics of quantitative research. Research in organizations: Foundations and Methods of Inquiry.
- Howe, K., Eisenhart, M. (1990). Standards for qualitative (and quantitative) research: A prolegomenon. Educational researcher.
- Lazaraton, A. (2005). Quantitative research methods. Handbook of research in second language teaching Teaching and Learning.
- Sukamolson, S. (2007). Fundamentals of quantitative research. Language Institute Chulalongkorn University.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)