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Relevance of quantitative method of analysis in socialogical research.

Quantitative research is used widely in social sciences such as sociology, anthropology, and political science. Qualitative research explores attitudes, behaviour and experiences through such methods as interviews or focus groups. It attempts to get an in-depth opinion from participants. As it is attitudes, behaviour and experiences which are important, fewer people take part in the research, but the contact with these people tends to last a lot longer. Under the umbrella of qualitative research there are many different methodologies.

Quantitative research generates statistics through the use of large-scale survey research, using methods such as questionnaires or structured interviews. For example, if a market researcher has stopped you on the streets, or you have filled in a questionnaire which has arrived through the post, this falls under the umbrella of quantitative research. This type of research reaches many more people.

Quantitative research involves gathering data that is absolute, such as numerical data, so that it can be examined in as unbiased a manner as possible. There are many principles that go along with quantitative research, which help promote its supposed neutrality. Quantitative research generally comes later in a research project, once the scope of the project is well understood.

In the social sciences, quantitative research refers to the systematic empirical investigation of quantitative properties and phenomena and their relationships. The main idea behind quantitative research is to be able to separate things easily. A researcher generally has a very clear idea what is being measured before they start measuring it, and their study is set-up with controls and a very clear blueprint. Tools used are intended to minimize any bias.

Quantitative research deals with objective measurements and includes statistical or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires or surveys. The variables can be manipulated as well as controlled in quantitative research. Basically, the variables are manipulated to examine the cause- effect relationship, carry out comparative analysis or interventional analysis within a specified population.

Quantitative research deals with numbers. It focuses more on convergent reasoning than on divergent reasoning which means that the researcher tries to find out solutions to a research problem with help of standardised tools and not by creative ideas. It mainly focuses on quantifying relationships between variables.

Characteristics of Quantitative method

The characteristics of quantitative research are as follows:

1) Clearly defined research questions: Based on the research problem, the

researcher frames clearly defined research questions and the answers to these questions are sought objectively.

2) Representative sample: The researcher selects a sample from a specified population from which data is aimed to be collected. These samples are representative of the population, so that the results achieved can be generalised to the population.

3) Manipulation/ control of variables: As mentioned before, the quantitative research deals with variables and as per the requirement, the researcher manipulates (for example, increases or decreases) and even controls the extraneous/controlled variables that can affect the research study.

4) Structured and standardised tools used for data collection: Quantitative research deals with numbers and the data is collected with the help of structured or standardised research instruments. The data is analysed with help of empirical evidences. The data are collected in form of numbers, and statistics, often arranged in tables, charts, figures, or other non-textual forms.

5) It is reliable and valid: Since the study is done under controlled observations involving scientific investigations, they can be replicated or repeated and provide similar results. The quantitative research is high on reliability. Further, as quantitative research involves the use of standard and structured instruments (which are variable specific), they are valid as well.

6) Generalisability: Since the quantitative research is done in a well- planned manner and are highly reliable as well as valid, the results obtained through the method can be generalised and can also be used to effectively predict results and infer causal relationships.

Strengths of Quantitative Method Quantitative Research

It needs to be mentioned that, quantitative research provides a framework to the researcher to find out relationships or conduct comparative analysis. It also enables a researcher to control the environment in order to collect the required data. Some of the strengths of the quantitative research can be mentioned as follows:

It provides an opportunity to collect data from a larger sample and helps in conducting broader study as well as generalisation of results to a larger population.

It helps the researcher to attain reliable, valid, accurate and objective results. 

It  provides an opportunity to replicate and design similar studies.

It provides an opportunity to conduct experiment under controled 

environment and thus minimises error variance.

It uses close ended and structured questions which provide responses free 

from personal biases.

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