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Characteristics, Strengths and Weaknesses of Quantitative Research

Updated on May 8, 2020
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Mr. Bernido is a Master of Arts in Mathematics Education and a licensed professional teacher. He is pursuing PhD MathEd in Bicol University.


Quantitative Research is a systematic investigation of phenomena by gathering quantifiable data and performing statistical, mathematical, or computational techniques. It collects information from existing and potential respondents using sampling methods, and surveys, or questionnaires; the results of which can be depicted in the form of numerical values (Bhat, 2020). Its purpose is to generate conclusion or to make some inferential conclusion by trying to quantify the problem and understand how prevalent it is by looking for projectable results to a larger population.

Quantitative research is widely used in psychology, economics, demography, marketing, political science, and educational studies. Depending on the nature of the study, a researcher can use any of the following four main types of quantitative research, namely: Descriptive Research, Correlational Research, Causal-Comparative Research or Quasi-Experimental Research, and Experimental Research.

Characteristics of Quantitative Research

The goal in conducting a quantitative is to determine the relationship of one thing to another within a population. It is descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental or experimental in nature. Descriptive and correlation researches establish associations between things under study while quasi-experimental and experimental studies establish causality.

As researchers, we should know the characteristics of a quantitative research listed below (Spalding University, 2020):

1.The data is usually gathered using structured research instruments.

Before conducting a data gathering, it is a must for a researcher to have his or her research instrument validated by experts. This validation process for the structured research instruments is necessary to ensure the reliability and validity of the results.

2.The results are based on larger sample sizes that are representative of the population.

It is necessary for a researcher to correctly determine the number of respondents in the research to be conducted in order to absolutely represent the population.

3.The research study can usually be replicated or repeated, given its high reliability.

Between qualitative and quantitative research, the latter is easier to replicate than the former. Since, quantitative research uses a structured research instrument, and deals with numbers and systematic procedure; it is highly replicative in nature. The procedure used in a quantitative research can be repeatedly done to measure the validity of previous results.

4.Researcher has a clearly defined research question to which objective answers are sought.

This research questions serve as the backbone of the research. These are the bases of the structured research questions developed and validated.

5.Data are in the form of numbers and statistics, often arranged in tables, charts, figures, or other non-textual forms.

Unlike in qualitative research where data and responses are in text form, or non-numerical data, in quantitative research data are definitely numbers which are subject to statistical treatment to interpret and generate conclusion.

6.Project can be used to generalize concepts more widely, predict future results, or investigate causal relationships.

As mentioned, since the results of a quantitative research are based on larger sample sizes hence it can be used to make inference to a population.

7.Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or computer software, to collect numerical data.

Examples of these are questionnaires, survey forms, and alike which are validated prior the conduct of the study.

Now, when reporting the results of a quantitative research conducted, it is necessary to a researcher to remember some tips. A researcher should explain the data collected how they are collected and how they are treated. It is also advisable to include all relevant results to the research questions under study. It is a must also to report all the procedure used in data collection to establish among readers the validity and reliability of results. The trustworthiness of the data is the goal. Statistical treatment must also be appropriate and be explained carefully. When using table or any non-textual presentation, make sure to present it with clarity.

To ensure that researchers really can conduct a study using quantitative research, they must know its strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Quantitative Research

Garage (2020) listed the following advantages and disadvantages of quantitative research.


The quantitative approach allows a researcher to reach a higher sample size.

A research can collect information quickly when using quantitative research.

Quantitative research uses randomized samples.

Results duplication is possible using quantitative research.

Quantitative research can focus on facts or a series of information.

The research performed with the quantitative approach is anonymous.

Quantitative research doesn’t require direct observation to be useful.


Quantitative Research does not consider the meaning behind social phenomena.

Every answer provided in this research method must stand on its own.

Quantitative research sometimes creates unnatural environments.

Some efforts at randomization will not create usable information.

There is no access to specific feedback.

Quantitative research can be very expensive.

Answer validity always creates a cloud of doubt on the final results.

Individual characteristics don’t apply to the general population.

Based on a brief discussion above, you are now ready to share something about quantitative research to your friends.


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