What Are The 4 Types Of Quantitative Research?


Quantitative Research1
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Statistical analysis, surveys, numerical data, and questionnaires are few words you will hear associated with quantitative research and its four types. In this research, you make use of closed-ended questions where the answer options are associated with a numerical value. Once you have collected the value, you use statistical analysis tools to translate the numbers into insights. 

This sums up the process of conducting quantitative research. There are four common types of quantitative research: descriptive research, correlational research, quasi-experimental research, and experimental research. In this blog, we will explore all four in detai

What is quantitative research?

The research design for quantitative data refers to the collection and evaluation of numerical data to test a hypothesis or to identify patterns and correlations within the numbers. Quantitative research is different from qualitative research, which involves the collection and evaluation of non-numerical data. 

Quantitative research is concerned with identifying the facts about different social phenomena.  In the research design for the quantitative approach, the aim is to quantify variables and measure their effects. 

The research involves gathering numerical data through surveys or experiments and then analyzing the data by administering statistical data analysis techniques to identify patterns, trends, and relationships. This systematic approach of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting quantitative data helps you draw objective and reliable conclusions.

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What are the types of quantitative research?

The quantitative approach to research ensures that the data you gather is accurate and reliable because it is in numerical form. This characteristic also provides a wider scope to analyze the data. In this section, we will discuss the four quantitative research design types and look into their advantages and real-world examples. 

There are four types of quantitative research designs, and they are:

  1. Descriptive Research 
  2. Correlational Research 
  3. Quasi-experimental Research Design
  4. Experimental Research  

These four quantitative research types also vary due to the different procedures each type undertakes. Each approach helps gather insightful data that can help you in making confident decisions. 

1. Descriptive research design: 

Descriptive research is used to understand a phenomenon, a situation, or a population. Unlike experimental research, descriptive research does not involve the manipulation of certain variables. Rather, it seeks only to observe and measure the variables in order to investigate them. 

Among the types of quantitative research, this design is used when trying to identify characteristics, categories, and trends. The most common methods of collecting descriptive research are case studies, observations, and surveys

Advantages of descriptive research design: 

  • The descriptive research design for a quantitative approach allows you to gather a detailed and nuanced understanding of the research objective. 
  • The research method is relatively easy to implement and involves surveys, observation, etc. 
  • It enables you to gather representative data that you can use to generalize the findings to a large population. 

Example of descriptive research design:

Using this quantitative research type, you can gather customer satisfaction feedback on the company’s customer service. You can conduct online surveys to assess various aspects of customer service, such as the time it took to connect with an agent, the agent’s politeness, knowledge, the effectiveness of the resolution, etc. 

The data can help you identify overall satisfaction levels and the areas that require improvement. 

2. Correlational research design:

Correlational research is a non-experimental research method used to identify a relationship between two variables with no influence from any extraneous variable. 

Among the types of quantitative research, this design can help you recognize patterns and trends in the feedback you gather. For example, an ice cream brand can use this methodology to identify the relationship between weather (temperature) and ice cream sales. 

The correlation between the two variables will reflect the direction and/or strength of their relationship. 

  • A positive correlation denotes that both variables change in the same direction.
  • A negative correlation denotes that the variables change in opposite directions. 
  • A zero correlation denotes that there is no relationship between the variables being studied. 

Advantages of correlational research design:

  • This quantitative research design type helps you establish relationships within variables without manipulating them. 
  • You can predict the outcome and identify patterns and trends based on the observed relationship. 
  •  In cases when experimental manipulation may be unethical, correlational research offers an alternative and ethical approach. 
  • The approach involves collecting data from existing sources, making it a cost-effective quantitative research design. 

Example of correlational research design:

You can evaluate the impact of advertising on consumers’ purchase decisions. In this research, you can gather data on the advertising expenditure of a product and its corresponding sales data. 

By analyzing the data using correlational analysis, you can determine if there is a relationship between advertising spending and sales performance. 

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3. Quasi-experimental research design:

Similar to the experimental research design, quasi-experimental research also aims to identify a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables, i.e., an independent variable and a dependent variable. 

However, quasi-experiment involves subjects being assigned to groups based on non-random criteria. 

Among the types of quantitative research, this design is often employed when true experiments cannot be carried out due to practical or ethical reasons. A notable advantage of this design is that it has higher external validity than most true experiments, as it often involves real-world interventions as opposed to an artificial laboratory setting. 

Advantages of quasi-experimental design:

  • It allows you to compare different groups/conditions and explore the cause-and-effect relationship. 
  • This research design of a quantitative approach often occurs in real-world settings. This allows for a high ecological validity which means you can apply the findings and generalize it to real-life situations. 
  • The quantitative research type is more practical and feasible. 

Example of quasi-experimental research design:

You can evaluate the impact of pricing promotion on the sales volume using this type of quantitative research. 

In this research, you can select two stores that sell your product. You can implement a promotion in one store while the other store maintains the regular price. By comparing the sales volume data from both stores during the promotion period, you can assess its impact.

4. Experimental research design:

Experimental research, also known as true experimentation, aims to measure the effect of one or more IVs on one or more DVs with the use of the scientific method. This is done by manipulating the independent variable to study its effects on the dependent variable. 

The experimental research design involves conducting a set of procedures to test the hypothesis of the study. Subjects within experimental research are randomly assigned to groups rather than being assigned to groups using non-random criteria. 

Advantages of experimental research design:

  • The researcher has control over the extraneous variable, which allows for a high degree of internal validity in this research design for quantitative research. 
  • Experimental research enables replication and verification of research outcomes, leading to increased confidence in the conclusion drawn. 
  • It allows the researcher to manipulate the independent variable to assess its impact on the dependent variable. 

Example of experimental research design:

A company can use this quantitative research design type to test the impact of its new product compared to its older variation in the market. 

The company can experiment by randomly assigning the older variation to a control group and the new product variation to the experimental group. Then, they can use surveys to gather respondents’ feedback and assess the performance of both products and the audiences’ preferences.

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What are the types of quantitative data collection methods?

Quantitative research enables you to establish statistical significance, indicating the likelihood of your research findings reflecting the truth. However, you can’t determine the validity and reliability of your hypothesis until you have gathered sufficient data. 

In this blog of type of quantitative research, we will also look into two distinctive ways to gather the data. 

1. Surveys:

Online surveys are the most popular and common method to gather data. You can ask multiple questions to a wide population in their language and share the survey in multiple online channels. The data analysis is also simple since you can use an online survey tool that automatically analyzes data for you. 

You can choose to conduct surveys in two ways – cross-sectional and longitudinal. 

  • Cross-sectional surveys are used when you want to conduct research at a given point in time.
  • Longitudinal surveys are used when you want to run surveys at various durations. 

Online surveys help you reach a worldwide audience in little time and allow you to run your research in a cost-effective manner. Moreover, by running surveys frequently you can evaluate the changes in performance and customer satisfaction at every key milestone. 

2. Interviews:

Interviews involve meeting respondents and gathering their opinions about your company, its products, or services. While interviews are often used as a way to gather qualitative data, with the right tools in hand, you can conduct your quantitative research as well. 

For example, Voxco offers CATI survey and mobile-offline survey mode to enable you to interact with the audience in real time and gather their opinion. 

Phone interviews:

Leverage phone survey mode to utilize functionalities like CATI, dialers, and IVR to gather customer responses. You can reach out to people who prefer phone calls over mobile surveys and engage with a dynamic demography. 

Field interviews:

Conduct personal interview with no Internet connection and reach remote or inaccessible audience. You can utilize mobile devices to manage your field research project and enhance productivity.

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Wrapping up;

In quantitative research, the data you gather is collected and presented in its numerical value. There are four types of quantitative research approaches you can use to gather the desired data. 

This concludes our article on introducing the four quantitative research designs. In research, the quantitative data needs to have statistical significance in order for it to be a proper representation of the target population. 

Researchers often use online survey software to conduct quantitative research. The tool can help you build a target panel of respondents and also distribute your surveys across various channels.

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