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What is some general information on quantitative research methodology?

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Quantitative research methodology aims to find out objective truths about a subject; its goal is to find figures and statistics that are objectively true. Quantitative research into people's opinions may involve questionnaires with closed questions and answers, while quantitative experiments focus on testing individual variables. Quantitative research methods range from descriptive to experimental, depending how much the variables are controlled.

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Descriptive research identifies a variable and seeks to describe its status. The researcher may develop a hypothesis after gathering and analyzing data, rather than forming his hypothesis before the experiment. Descriptive research seeks to gather information such as the range of scientific opinions on climate change or how a group of children spent their summer vacation.

Correlational research uses statistics to try and explain the relationship between two or more variables. Researchers look for trends and patterns but do not speculate as to the causes of the trends they identify. Variables are identified and noted, but researchers do not try to control them.

Casual-comparative/quasi-experimental research looks for causal relationships in the patterns that correlational research identifies. Independent variables are identified, and their effects are measured, but researchers do not manipulate them. Researchers must be very careful when drawing conclusions, as many variables can have different effects on the experiment's outcome.

True experimentation uses the scientific method to identify causal relationships between variables. Researchers try to control every variable except for the one that is being measured and altered to measure its effects. Testing new medical treatments involves true experimentation.

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