Quantitative research is called this way because it is directly connected to numbers and data. Quantitative research works though collecting data, converting it into the form of numbers and processing it through the calculations and formulas (The Four Main Approaches, 2009).
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The conclusions will be also presented in the numerical form. Reliable data is the strength of this approach; it allows more calculations and tests (Crossman, 2014). There are several different approaches to the quantitative research. There is a positivist approach – in the positivist way of thinking science is positioned as a way to learn the truth (Positivism & Post-Positivism, 2006).
The positivist researchers are sure that with help of reliable tools the reality can be studied objectively (Introduction to Quantitative Research, n. d.). Post-positivist approach says that the scientists are parts of the reality and can never be detached enough to be completely objective in the way they percept the reality. The two approaches have two different ways of seeing the reality –subjective and objective ways (Wildemuth, 1993).
In quantitative researches numbers and scales are used. The numbers can be referred to four categories, or levels. The levels are nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio. The levels are connected and each level includes the characteristics of the level before.
We can say that the levels penetrate each other. Nominal level includes qualitative characteristic of an object of research. On nominal level the numbers can be given to the subjects of the study, for example, 1-red, 2-blue. On this lever the numbers do not mean the order or quantity. They are just nominal characteristics. The order matters on ordinal level.
As an example – the ordinal times of day are night-morning-noon-afternoon-evening (Levels of Measurement, n.d.). On the interval level the difference between the measurements starts to matter, for example – the difference between 30 and 40 degrees is the same as the difference between 70 and 80 degrees (What is the Difference between Ordinal, Interval and Ratio variables?, 2009).
Ratio level is connected to all of the other levels, as ratio scale has the absolute zero point, which is the point where none of the measured before qualities exist. Understanding of the relationships between these four measurements is very important for any researcher that is using quantitative approach to the object of the study. Different types of data are measured differently (Osherson & Lane, n.d.).
Without the understanding of the relationships between the variables no comparisons, calculations or statistics could be made. The relationships between the levels of measurements make is possible to process the data collected during the research and evaluate it to make the conclusion.
Crossman, A. (2014). An Overview of Quanititative Research Methods.
Introduction to Quantitative Research. (n. d.). Sagepub.
Levels of Measurement. (n. d.). Psychology.
Osherson, D. & D. M. Lane. (n. d.) Levels of Measurements.
Positivism & Post-Positivism. (2006). Research Methods Knowledge Base.
The Four Main Approaches. (2009). Alzheimer Europe.
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What is the Difference between Ordinal, Interval and Ratio Variables? (2009). Graphpad.
Wildemuth B. M. (1993). Post-Positive Research: Two Examples of Methodological Pluralism.