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Quantitative and Qualitative Research

In this section of the guide

In this section of the Guide you will be at:

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research investigates phenomena that can be quantified with number or statistics resulting from a formal measurement. Quantitative literature generally includes multiple tables, figures and charts and involves experimentation, surveys, or questionnaires in the context of a large, randomly selected group.  Quantitative research involves a rigorous and controlled design.

Quantitative Research Methods & Data

  • Correlational
  • Descriptive
  • Experimental
  • Quasi-experimental
  • Cross-sectional
  • Longitudinal/prospective/cohort
  • Retrospective/ex post facto/case control
  • Tests
  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires

The title and/or abstract of an article may provide information about the research method as well as examining the methods section of the article.

What to look for in Quantitative Research:

  • numbers
  • charts and graphs
  • the comparison of two variables using numerical data

Characteristics of Quantitative Research

Here are some main features to examine when determining if an article is quantitative. They may appear in the abstract, or you may need to skim the text of the article to find them.

Take a look at the:

  • Introduction: a statement of background or purpose (what was being studied and why). May review prior studies on the same topic.
  • Description of the design and/or method of the study (the experimental group or sample, control, variables, number of test subjects, test conditions, etc.)
  • Results, or report of the findings (in numeric form as tables, charts, or graphs)
  • Conclusions that can be drawn from the results
  • Footnotes and/or bibliography 

Adapted from the John. M. Pfau Library