We explain what the quantitative method is, the types of research in which it is used and its characteristics. In addition, the qualitative method.
What is the quantitative method?
Quantitative methods, quantitative methodologies or quantitative investigations are the set of strategies for obtaining and processing information that use numerical magnitudes and formal and / or statistical techniques to carry out their analysis, always framed in a cause and effect relationship.
In other words, a quantitative method is anyone who uses numerical values to study a phenomenon . As a result, it obtains conclusions that can be expressed mathematically.
Quantitative research methods are useful when there is a problem in studying a set of representable data using different mathematical models. Thus, the research elements are clear, defined and limited . The results obtained are numerical, descriptive and, in some cases, predictive.
Quantitative research is considered the opposite form of qualitative research , and its use is frequent in the field of exact sciences and in many social sciences . It is also known as an empirical-analytical method and as a positivist method.
Characteristics of the quantitative method
The quantitative method is characterized, first and foremost, because it requires numerical variables to be able to express the research problem . In other words, the analyzed data must always be quantifiable, that is, expressible in an amount.
Among their techniques, surveys, experiments and even predictions are usually used, once a first result is obtained, since quantitative data is usually generalizable .
Another important feature is that it is an objective method , or that it at least aspires to be. This means that interpretation and points of view have no place in it, but the demonstrable relationship between figures and mathematical models.
To do this, inference is your most usual logical procedure. Its starting point is always a hypothesis or some theory to be tested.
Types of quantitative research
There are different types of quantitative research, such as:
- Descriptive research . Try to specify properties, characteristics and important features of the studied phenomenon, through objective dynamics of observation , analysis and demonstration. They usually constitute the first step of any scientific investigation .
- Analytical research . More complex than the descriptive one, it consists in the comparison or comparison of determined variables between control and study groups, recording the way in which the results are given in practice to be able to verify or refute some previously established hypothesis.
- Experimental research . As the name implies, these are investigations based on experimentation , that is, on the replication in a controlled environment of the studied phenomenon, in order to understand and eventually manipulate the variables that determine its outcome.
- Almost experimental research . These are experimental procedures that cannot distinguish randomly between the control and study groups, thus differentiating themselves from the experimental ones.
Examples of quantitative method
Some simple examples of the application of the quantitative method can be:
- An opinion poll , for example, in the face of upcoming elections, in which support is expressed for each candidate in terms of the percentage and number of potential voters. From the results, a prediction regarding the true result could be extrapolated.
- A study of the number of cases of a disease and its geographical distribution or with respect to the social classes of the same community, as well as a survey regarding eating, health or social habits, to try to find a link between both information.
- A record of the effectiveness of an antidote against the venom of certain types of snakes, based on the survival rate of horses of the same breed bitten on the legs, comparing it with another type of antidote of different chemical nature.
Unlike quantitative ones, focused on the application of formal and mathematical techniques to obtain results expressed in numbers, qualitative methods apply interpretive techniques to obtain cultural and ideological results , that is, discursive.
This difference is fundamental for the field of research, and is usually expressed as follows: where the quantitative seeks quantities, the qualitative seeks qualities.