Quantitative research is very common in natural sciences. Quantitative research is used to verify or support a hypothesis that already exists. Being without the structure provided by a hypothesis in quantitative research between variables tested, may create feeling of insecurity. This is understandable since quantitative research on human behaviour has a more clearly defined research agenda. Research is conducted through a cycle of phases. The methods applied to carry out quantative research are data analysis, which is collected through statistics.
The nature of this type of perspective is known as positivism because it strives to tell the world it can be understood in one context. Quantitative research uses a deductive approach, making predictions, and testing hypothesis that have already been carried out. (Coolican, H. 1999) Researchers of quantitative research work with numerical data by analysing numbers. Characteristics have to be put in place in order for results to be accurate and reliable. Prior to conducting a research, researchers have to state both hypotheses. The next task carried out prior to the research is to implement the procedure they are going to use.
Researchers have to provide statistical meaningful data and in order to do this they have to use large enough samples of people. A quantifiable sample of 200 people is an absolute minimum in order to carry out a reliable statistical analysis. The accuracy of the research is important therefore correct procedures are employed to collect data analysis. In quantitative research due to the nature, certain types of methods are used to conduct research. Quantitative research is done through questioning and observing. Researchers can manipulate certain parts of the experiment when measuring the results.
The methods are of systematic approach; the four main types of research used in quantitative research are descriptive or survey research, correlational research, casual comparative research and experimental research. (Bryman, A. 2004) Correlational research attempts to determine the relationships between two or more variables, experimental research attempts to look for an cause and effect between two or more variables. Correlational and group difference studies look at existing data this is a non-experimental study. The cause an effect here assess the relationship from one study that exists with another study which is the same.
Whilst in casual comparative research the researcher has no control over the casual factor or independent variable because it is studied after the fact, this effect is also known as the dependent variable (D. V). Experimental research and casual comparative research looks at cause and effect relationship between two or more variables the difference between the two researches is that casual comparative research have no control whereas experimental research the researcher has control over the independent variable (I. V). (Bryman, A. 2004) A longitudinal survey was conducted looking at behavioural patterns of sport fandom’s.
The usefulness of this research was to analyse the behaviour of human explained by social facts. Longitudinal studies can be useful because they study the same group of participants over a certain aspect as time passes. The survey examined showing the behavioural component of sport fandom attending games. The data was collected in consecutive seasons, the methodology of study was to be reliable and in order to do this they collected data between clubs. The advantage of this survey showed the composition of the crowd, and their overt behaviour.
The usefulness of using quantative methodology was to measure overt behaviour, and the different aspects in measuring the composition of the sports crowd. This study can be replicated again to compare the quantitative methodology. In this research the reliability and validity is determined more than a qualitative technique. Even though the survey showed the composition of the crowd and their overt behaviour, the methodology does not attempt to explain the underlying assumptions of sport fandom. The individuals in the study are regarded as a “set of variables making them equivalent across persons and across situations”. (www)
Structure interviews usually carried out on randomly selected sample of people. In a structured interview the researcher has pre set questions that a subject is required to answer in a given way. Structured interviews are conducted in a casual manner and may produce spontaneous and realistic answers. The standard interviews can be generalised and applied to the entire population. Sampling of subjects can be difficult, and formal interviews conducted in routine manner may not produce realistic answers. The British Crime Survey (B. C. S) carries out surveys of randomly selected sample of people questioned by structured interviews.
In order to understand, the experience of crime and behaviour. (Bryman, A, 2004) In questionnaires and surveys the experiments can be studied on large sample of people. Researchers are able to ask questions about feeling and behaviour in real situations, the method is cheap. The selected people can be generalised about the real world because they are chosen randomly. In the questionnaire and survey the negative aspect can be that people may not respond truthfully. It is difficult to establish the cause an effect. Questions in surveys may not have been asked about variables.
Also through surveys and questionnaires research is often collected which is manipulated. People’s responses are put in categories that might fit in order to make meaning. (Coolican, H. 1999) Asch (1951) study was conducted to carry out if conformity took place. Asch (1951) did a perceptual test to measure conformity; there were 36 confederates in the experiment, 20 trials took place. The study was carried out in a laboratory setting. In the experiment where a number of stooges who were confederates of the experiment. In the experiment the stooges where told to give incorrect answers.
Participant found it hard in the perceptual test to identify which 3 lines was the same length has the standard line. In this study 74% of participants did agree with the stooges verdict and conformed. The mean average of conformity rate amongst participants was 32%. Many psychologists have criticised Asch’s study because they feel the participants where young offenders on probation. The set of participants were under authority figures acting has their experimenters. The other criticism Asch has received was how could one relate the perceptual task to conformity in real life.
The other factor that could’ve affected conformity in the perceptual task was if there was one participant and one stooge, conformity would’ve been rather low than one stooge being present in the experiment; possibility of conformity would be then higher. The higher the status of stooge the likelihood of conformity would be higher, than if the stooge is a fellow student. Other factors considered to influence different results would be if lines where relatively similar to the standard line then the task would effect the conformity rate. It was a time consuming study, because one participant was tested at a time.
In this study the participants were misleaded because of the stooges. The usefulness of the stooges in this experiment was to provide a result whether conformity existed. Rosenow and Rosenthal (1977) suggest that some studies, “researchers have clear expectations about what should happen in their research study this can affect on the outcome. In other words, to some extent, researchers find what they are expecting to find, simply because they are expected to find it”. (Coolican, H. 1999) Research can sometimes produce ambiguous interpretations where studies have manipulated the independent variable.
Validity in experiments only exists if the true cause and effect relationship is identified. In experimental methods manipulation of one variable can take place in order to keep the other variables constant. Experiments take place to discover accurate and precise discoveries of relationships between variables. In order to rule out alternative confounding variables designs of experiments are carefully thought. Therefore a validity of experiment carried out on a study should help researcher in future to create and design better experiment. (Russel, J. 000) Researcher In quantitative research is a mere objective observer. In this research the researcher does not participate or influence what is being studied. This is the basic underlying assumption of the method that guides this study. It is through this sequence the types of data are collected. Experiments carried out in field studies are seen has reliable, because people react and behave in an everyday context. On the other hand laboratory studies can be unreliable because variables are controlled, they are low in validity and artificial. Coolican, H. 1999) Researchers use quantitative research in order to find results from experiments. Experiments used in social science have to be done so that they are internally and externally valid. (www. uwa. com In conclusion it can be said that some researchers find that some experiments using quantitative method have limited usefulness because of the low external validity for example of their inapplicability to the real world. On the other hand some researchers consider quantitative research can be statistically reliable.
Some researchers find that studies in some cases are manipulated and the results are biased in the way they are measured. The determination of the reliability on quantitative research can be from one idea concept, product package if it is better than the alternative. Researchers using quantitative research see whether a particular population shares certain characteristics in common. Quantitative research is used in connection with statistical analysis and generalisation of descriptions. Therefore it is seen appropriate to be used in research to measure both attitudes and behaviour.