A Guide to Quantitative Research Method.

The next step after writing the introduction, the purpose, and the questions and hypothesis, is the methods sections. This guide presents essential steps in designing quantitative methods of a research proposal or study, with specific focus on survey and experimental designs.

Defining Surveys and Experiments

A survey design provides a quantitative or numeric description of trends, attitudes, or opinions of a population by studying a sample of that population.  From sample results, the researcher generalizes or draws inferences to the population.

In an experiment, investigators may also identify a sample and generalize to a population. According to Creswell (2014), the basic intent of an experimental design is to test the impact of a treatment (or an intervention) on an outcome, controlling for all other factors that might influence that outcome.  As one form of control, researchers randomly assign individuals to groups. When one group receives a treatment and the other group does not, the experimenter can isolate whether it is the treatment and not other factors that influence the outcome.

The survey design

Introduce readers to the basic purpose and rationale for survey research. You should begin the discussion by reviewing the purpose of a survey and the rationale for its selection for the proposal study.

Identify the purpose of survey research. This purpose is to generalize from a sample to a population so that inferences can be made about some characteristic, attitude, or behavior of this population.

Indicate why a survey is the preferred type of data collection procedure for the study. In this rationale, consider the advantages of survey designs, such as the economy of the design and the rapid turnaround in data collection.

Indicate whether the survey will be cross-sectional-with the data collected at one point in time- or whether it will be longitudinal- with data collected over time.

State the form of data collection. Creswell (2014) identified the following types; mail, telephone, the internet, personal interviews, or group administration.

The population and sample

Identify the population in the study.  State the size of the population if the size can be determined, and the means of identifying individuals in the population.

Identify whether the sampling design for the population is single stage or multistage (also known as clustering).  Clustering sampling is appropriate when it is impossible or impractical to compile a list of the elements composing the population.  A single stage sampling is idea when the research can access the names in the population and can sample the people (or other elements directly). In multistage or clustering procedure, first identify the clusters (groups or organizations), obtain names of individuals within those clusters, and then samples within them.

Identify the selection process for individuals.  Creswell (2014) recommends selecting a random sample, in which each individual in the population has an equal probability of being selected (a systematic or probabilistic sample).

Identify whether the study will involve stratification of the population before selecting the sample. The researcher should first know the characteristics of the population members. According to Fowler (2009), stratification means that specific characteristics of individuals, for example, gender; females and males, are represented in the sample and the sample reflects the true proportion in the population of individuals with certain characteristics.  Random selection may not present the gender characteristics in a sample in the same proportion as in the population; stratification ensures their representation.

Instrumentation

Name the survey instrument used to collect data. Discuss whether it is an instrument designed for this research, a modified instrument, or an intact instrument developed by a developer, and indicate whether the developer has provided appropriate permission to use it.

Mention whether the scores resulting from past use of the instrument demonstrate reliability. Consider whether authors report measures of internal consistency.

Variables in the Study.

Readers of a proposal can learn about the variables in purpose statements and research questions or hypotheses sections, but it is useful in the method section to relate the variables to the specific questions or hypotheses on the instrument.

Data analysis and interpretation

Present information about the steps involved in analyzing the data.

Step 1: Report information about the number of members of the sample who did and did not return the survey.  A table with numbers and percentages describing respondents and nonrespondents is a useful tool to present this information.

Step 2: Discuss the method by which response bias will be determined.

Step 3: Discuss a plan to provide a descriptive analysis of data for all independent and dependent variables in the study.  The analysis should indicate the means, standard deviations, and range of scores for these variables.  In some quantitative projects, the analysis stops here with descriptive analysis, especially if the number of participants is too small for more advanced, inferential analysis.

Step 4: Assuming that you proceed beyond descriptive approaches, if the proposal contains an instrument with scales or plan to develop scales (combining items into scales), identify the statistical procedure, that is, factor analysis for accomplishing this. Also mention reliability checks for the internal consistency of the scales, that is, the Cronbach alpha statistic.

Step 5: Identify the statistics and the statistical computer program for testing the major inferential research questions or hypotheses in the proposed study.

Step 6: Finally, present the results in tables or figures and interpret the results from the statistical test.

Example of a survey Method Section.

The following is an example of a methodology from a quantitative study, “Value creation in diversification”, developed by our dissertation writing experts. Use it to get a better understanding on how to approach a quantitative study. We would like to remind you that this sample is original has not been submitted anywhere else. However, using it without proper citation will lead to plagiarism. If you need your essay, research paper, research proposal or dissertation to be written from scratch, place an order with us and our experts will work on it.

Research design

This study will involve a correlation survey research design. Survey research is one in which a few samples are selected to present a population. Sample survey research ensures that there is cost minimization and time-saving within the stipulated time frame. The correlation study will involve two variables in the study. Correlation research deal with two variables and test how one variable affect the other. It aims to examine and describe the association and relationships between the two variables. Its main aim is to find out whether a relationship exists between two variables and to describe the nature of the relationship. The measurements are then examined to see if there is a relationship. The research design will be a descriptive cross section study aimed at determining whether there is a correlation between exploiting a firm’s core resources and value creation in diversification

Population

For this study, the target population will be 200 multinational corporations based in in the United States. The researchers will use purposive sampling method to identify the participants.

A sample is a finite part of statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole sample. This study will employ purposive sampling to identify which businesses will be selected and the selection of the sample will be taken using simple random sampling. Simple random sampling selects a sample without bias from the target population and also accords each item an equal opportunity of being selected in the sample Research instruments

The study is to collect primary data using questionnaires and through interviews. The questionnaires will be administered to small business operators in the research area with regard to research questions. The questionnaire will include both open-ended and closed-ended questions regarding to the objectives of the study. The purpose of the open-ended questions is to give a more detailed response.

Data collection procedure

Data collection involved contacting the respondent in advance so that he can give a time that will be convenient to administer the questionnaire and fill the response. The data collection involved a face-to-face questionnaire.

Data analysis and presentation

The study will generate quantitative data. The researchers will apply descriptive statistics data analysis to analyze both quantitative data. The data analysis is to comprise the following statistical procedures; Descriptive statistics to run frequencies, descriptive ratios, mean percentages and cross tabulations, correlation to show the relationship between variables and tables and graphs for presentation.

The data to be obtained will be organized and coded, then entered into the computer for analysis using a statistical program, Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) that is able to offer a broader data handling capability and many procedures that analyze from small to large data statistics (Bell, 2007).

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