Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research is used to define the  proportion or intensity of the attitudes . Quantitative data can be measured and counted.

Quantitative research aims to develop statistical information on what people think. It is typically used to answer questions about numbers, proportion or scale (eg. What percentage of the population supports the motion to decriminalize homosexuality?).

In other words, use quantitative research when you want statistical information on what a group of people think.

[dt-space height=”40″][ultimate_modal icon_type=”custom” icon_img=”id^6575|url^https://derechoshumanosydiversidad.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/bnaranja.png|caption^null|alt^null|title^bnaranja|description^null” modal_title=”Case Study: South Africa Attitudes Survey” btn_bg_color=”#ffffff” btn_bg_hover_color=”#f2f2f2″ btn_text=”Case Study: South Africa Attitudes Survey” modal_size=”medium” modal_style=”overlay-fade” overlay_bg_opacity=”80″ img_size=”80″ header_text_color=”#dd9933″ btn_txt_color=”#dd9933″ button_text_font_style=”font-style:italic;,font-weight:bold;” button_text_font_size=”desktop:18px;” button_text_line_height=”desktop:18px;”]SASAS is an annual survey that has been carried out by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) every year since 2003. It is administered through face-to-face interviews and is designed to be representative of the adult population aged 16 years and older. In 2015, the Other Foundation worked together with the HSRC of South Africa to develop a quantitative research on attitudes towards LGBTI people in the country.

They commissioned for 32 questions to be included in the 2015 round of the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS) that was conducted at the end of 2015. More than 3,000 South Africans across a geographically representative process were interviewed in person in their choice of eight of the most widely spoken languages in South Africa.

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Benefits of using quantitative research include:

  • Gathering information from a relatively large number of participants
  • Reproducing  the research in a number of groups, allowing for comparison and collaboration.
  • Generalizing to broader population
  • Providing numerical or rating information

Limitations of using a quantitative approach:

  • Difficulty in recognizing new and untouched phenomena
  • Caution in interpretation without a control group
  • Doesn’t inform about reasons behind attitudes

Quantitative research might not be as subtle as qualitative research, but it does have many aspects that need careful strategizing:

Representation is probably the trickiest aspect to achieve.

Representation is best achieved by drawing randomly from the population you want to survey. That might mean adapting your research to make sure you will be able to reach all members of the target audience  (eg. if you are doing poll interviews, make sure to call at different times for a variety of working patterns and lifestyles. ). 

Size: If you want your findings to be representative, you need to think about the size of your sample (ie. your number of participants). If you wanted to  conduct a survey on happiness in Lagos, Nigeria, given the population size of Lagos you would need to find a way to interview several hundred people to be able to make any conclusions about whether people are happy in Lagos. The bigger your sample, the more confident you can be that your findings will be representative.

Most probably you will need the support of a polling company to carry out sufficient population  research. But even so, you should remain in the driving seat to make sure the the research is framed correctly.  The World Values Survey would not have looked the way it does if LGBT organisations had been consulted!

World Values Survey

Look at how  this extract of the World Values Survey questionnaire.

Do you think the design of the questionnaire is likely to inform the answers given by participants? If so, how?