Quantitative techniques include methods that focus on objective measurements and analyzing numbers in order to draw conclusions about research subjects. These methods include polls, questionnaires and surveys. They also either describe a phenomenon by measuring it once or perform an experiment in which researchers measure the phenomenon before and after they introduce a treatment.
Researchers use quantitative techniques across a number of disciplines including communication studies, medical studies, statistics and a host of other social sciences like education. Researchers gather information with specific research instruments in order to get an objective measurement. With the information gathered from these observations, researchers make inferences about a larger population after looking at a representative sample size.
Quantitative techniques must have high reliability so that other researchers have the ability to replicate the studies with the previous data collection or a similar one and check the validity of the results. They must also follow a carefully constructed research design that eliminates the possibility of contamination from outside factors that potentially affect the phenomenon under investigation. Valid results mean that researchers have the ability to see causation or predict future results of the phenomenon. Furthermore, they can generalize concepts more widely and explain their results with numbers and statistics.