Quantitative researchers generally have four main preoccupations: they want their research to be measurable, to focus on causation, to be generalisable, and to be replicable.
These preoccupations reflect epistemological grounded beliefs about what constitutes acceptable knowledge, and can be contrasted with the preoccupations of researchers who prefer a qualitative approach.
It may sound like it’s stating the obvious – but quantitative researchers are primarily interested in collecting numerical data, which means they are essentially concerned with counting social phenomena, which will often require concepts to be operationalised.
In most quantitative research there is a strong concern with explanation: qualitative researchers are more concerned with explaining why things are as they are, rather than merely describing them (which tends to be the focus of more qualitative research).
It follows that it is crucial for quantitative researchers to effectively isolate variables in order to establish causal relationships.
Quantitative researchers tend to want their findings to be representative of wider populations, rather than the just the sample involved in the study, thus there is a concern with making sure appropriate sampling techniques will be used.
If a study is repeatable then it is possible to check that the original researchers’ own personal biases or characteristics have not influenced the findings: in other words, replication is necessary to test the objectivity of an original piece of research.
Quantitative researchers tend to be keen on making sure studies are repeatable, although most studies are never repeated because there is a lack of status attached to doing so.
Bryman (2017) Social Research Methods
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