Quantitative Research Key Terms #1

September 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

I’m currently taking a graduate seminar in Quantitative Research Methods. To study, I’ve created physical flash cards with the dictionary definitions on them, but I am also experimenting using the Feynman Technique. To do so, I’ll be posting my Quantitative key terms on here with a simplified, laymen’s definition. This should help me better understand the concepts and maybe it will help you if you’re confused about what they mean.

  • Empiricism – Knowing through experience. Using your senses to observe something. E.g. smelling a rose, touching a burning stove, etc.
  • Descriptive Research – Simply gathering data without changing it. E.g. The U.S. Census gives us information about people, but doesn’t help us understand variables or relationships between data.
  • Explanatory Research – Tries to explain relationships between variables. E.g. As adults get older, their BMI increases.
  • Qualitative Research – Observing what people do and say and then compiling it without the use of numbers. Doesn’t try to generalize.
  • Quantitative Research -Uses numbers and a systematic approach and seeks to generalize human behavior. E.g. Using a questionnaire, an experiment, etc.
  • Experimental Research – When you manipulate the independent variable. E.g. If I put this Bunson burner over an open flame, what will happen?
  • Survey Research – Uses surveys  (questionnaires and interviews) to gather information.
  • Content Analysis – Looking for specific, observable content. E.g. Watching a movie and noting how many times women appeared on screen.
  • Deductive reasoning – Facts -> Facts. E.g. All oranges are fruits. All fruit grows on trees. Therefore, oranges grow on trees.
  • Inductive reasoning – Trends -> Generalizations. E.g. For the last 5 yeas, 100 more students a year at SDSU have started to ride skateboards, so I induce that in 2018, 300 more students will ride skateboards than they do now. (there’s no way of knowing if this is true)
  • Conceptual definition – The dictionary definition of something. E.g. Happiness means the state of well-being and contentment.
  • Operational definition – How are you going to measure the thing you are trying to measure? E.g. We’ll use the Subjective Happiness Scale to measure overall levels of happiness.
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