Academic research facilitates learning, highlights specific research issues, and plays an important role in the professional growth of students. Decisions making occupies a central position in the academic research process. A student with poorly developed decision-making skills often lags in some research points. The first decision that every student has to make in the preliminary stage of the research is to select an appropriate research design for his/her study. Students often puzzle about whether the qualitative design best interprets the facts about the topic of interest or should he go for the quantitative one. Both quantitative and qualitative research designs have their own pros and cons. Yet, it is the nature of the topic that decides what will be more suitable for achieving the pre-defined research goals. For instance, if you decide quantitative research method for your study, then you must know about its essential rules as well. Thus, this article will describe the eight most essential rules a researcher must follow while conducting quantitative research and analysis for academic research.
What are quantitative researches and analysis?
Quantitative research primarily focuses on objective measurements and statistical analysis by manipulating pre-existing statistical data. Stated in another way, quantitative research is a process of collecting and analyzing non-contextual or numerical forms of data. The purpose of this method is to find the patterns, make predictions, test causalities, and generalize the results to the wider population. The three most common methods of quantitative analysis include descriptive research, experimental research, and correlational research. Descriptive research describes the characteristics and qualities of variables. Experimental research explores the cause and effect relationships between the variables by manipulating them in a controlled and uncontrolled environment. Simultaneously, the correlational research investigates how different variables are interconnected in one way or another. However, to conduct any quantitative research, you must follow the following eight rules:
Eights rules for quantitative research:
Rule # 1: The sample size must be large for quantitative research and analysis:
The first and foremost thing that every researcher using the quantitative method of research must know before conducting quantitative research is the large sample size. The reason behind this rule is that quantitative studies are more reliable when done on a large audience.
Rule # 2: A pilot study is necessary for testing the feasibility of the project proposal:
A pilot study, commonly known as a ‘feasibility’ study, is necessary, especially in the case of quantitative studies, as it deals with extensive data sets. A pilot study is a small-scale study that helps researchers in risk assessment and knowing the future potential of the proposed study. Thus, the second rule is all researchers must design a pilot study with a small sample in order to save resources and time as well.
Rule # 3: Researchers must conduct quantitative studies by giving researchers academic freedom:
In the light of this rule, researchers have full right to choose the topic and methodology for quantitative studies on their own. Moreover, in a commissioned research, the company or agency has the right to suggest the topic, methods, and analysis techniques for quantitative research. Thus, in compliance with rule # 3, the owner of the research project, either a student/supervisor or a commissioning agency, must have academic freedom to independently make research-specific decisions.
Rule # 4: The quantitative researchers must strive for the quality of a research project:
This is a general rule that is applicable to all private and public research projects. It suggests researchers strive for high-quality work by following the necessary competence. The researcher must design relevant research questions and should use the best possible methodology and techniques to collect the data. Thus, the quality of research refers to the use of appropriate data collection, processing and storage measures.
Rule # 5: The quantitative researchers must take voluntary informed consent from the participants involved in a study:
One of the most important rules in conducting quantitative research is to get informed consent from participants involved in a study. For this, the researcher must avoid the use of information that may damage the reputation of the participants as a whole. Thus, it is one of the basic duties of the researcher to get consents that are informed, voluntary, documentable, and explicit. To ensure greater voluntariness, the researchers must arrange a session with the participants to tell them about the potential harms and benefits they may get from the participation.
Rule # 6: It is the social responsibility of the quantitative researchers and analysts to benefit the society through research goals:
All qualitative researchers have a moral as well as a social responsibility to ensure that their research objectives. Beneficial for the participants, research community, and even general society. In order to depict a high sense of responsibility, researchers must make decisions. That are acknowledgeable and vital for the development of a specific research area. Abusing, personally attacking, and critiquing others for damaging their reputation is highly depreciating in academic research community.
Rule # 7: Quest for truth:
Quantitative studies are the quest for new knowledge. Critical evaluation, systematicverification, and peer reviews are the most sophisticated ways for data quantification. Thus, by giving special attention to systematic documentation, one can achieve this goal. Also, the openness and honesty in data collection, analysis, and representation matter a lot.
Rule # 8: Researchers are obliged to maintain good reference practices:
The last rule for this article emphasizes on following good reference practices in quantitative research and analysis. References are important as they put an individual’s work in context. They demonstrate the depth of the research. Apart from all, they are the standard way to acknowledge other researchers. Thus, good reference practices ensure good research practices.
Quantitative research is preferable as it gives more scientific, focused, and acceptable solutions to scientific problems. However, you cannot only select it because you have academic freedom. Many rules associated with quantitative studies prevent a researcher from committing academic research misconduct. This article discussed the eight most important rules that not only save an individual from committing any misconduct. But also make the quantitative research process more convenient, if properly followed.
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