Skip to main content
Updated date:

Quantitative Research Designs: A Brief Discussion

Learning Goals

At the end of this article, the reader is expected to:

  1. define/describe each quantitative research design, and
  2. choose appropriate quantitative research design for the given topic.

Four (4) Quantitative Research Designs

There are four quantitative research designs, namely: descriptive, correlational, experimental, and quasi-experimental research designs.

1. Descriptive Research

Descriptive research aims to describe a population, situation, or phenomenon accurately and systematically. It can answer what, where, when and how questions, but not why questions.

A descriptive research design can use a wide variety of research methods to investigate one or more variables. Unlike in experimental research, the researcher does not control or manipulate any of the variables, but only observes and measures them.

Descriptive research is an appropriate choice when the research aim is to identify characteristics, frequencies, trends, and categories.

It is useful when not much is known yet about the topic or problem. Before you can research why something happens, you need to understand how, when and where it happens.

2. Correlational Research

A correlational research design measures a relationship between two variables without the researcher controlling either of them. It aims to find out whether there is either:

Positive correlation: Both variables change in the same direction. Example: As height increases, weight also increases

Negative correlation: The variables change in opposite directions. Example: As coffee consumption increases, tiredness decreases

Zero correlation: There is no relationship between the variables. Example: Coffee consumption is not correlated with height

3. Experimental Research

An experiment is a type of research method in which you manipulate one or more independent variables and measure their effect on one or more dependent variables.

Experimental design means creating a set of procedures to test a hypothesis.

A good experimental design requires a strong understanding of the system you are studying. By first considering the variables and how they are related (Step 1), you can make predictions that are specific and testable (Step 2).

How widely and finely you vary your independent variable (Step 3) will determine the level of detail and the external validity of your results. Your decisions about randomization, experimental controls, and between- vs within-subjects designs (Step 4) will determine the internal validity of your experiment.

4. Causal-comparative Research/Quasi-experimental Research

A quasi-experimental design aims to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between an independent and dependent variable.

A quasi-experiment does not rely on random assignment. Instead, subjects are assigned to groups based on non-random criteria.

Quasi-experimental design is a useful tool in situations where true experiments cannot be used for ethical or practical reasons.

Activity

Listed are examples of research topics. Choose which of them are descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental, or experimental research.

  • A description of how 11th graders spend their time during summer vacation
  • The relationship between diet and anxiety
  • The effect of positive reinforcement on attitude toward school
  • The effect of taking multivitamins on students’ school absenteeism
  • A description of the extent to which elementary teachers use math manipulative
  • The relationship between smoking and lung disease
  • The effect of part-time employment on the achievement of high school students
  • A comparison of the effect of personalized instruction vs traditional instruction on computational skills

Wrapping Up

1. Descriptive research aims to describe a population, situation, or phenomenon accurately and systematically.

2. A correlational research design measures a relationship between two variables without the researcher controlling either of them.

3. An experimental research is a type of research method in which you manipulate one or more independent variables and measure their effect on one or more dependent variables.

4. A causal-comparative/quasi-experimental research design aims to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between an independent and dependent variable.

Evaluate Yourself!

Choose the appropriate quantitative research design for each research topic. Write your answer in the comment section. Use the following codes in answering this activity: DRD -Descriptive Research Design, CRD- Correlational Research Design, QERD- Quasi-Experimental Research Design, ERD-Experimental Research Design.

  1. The effect of new teaching-learning strategy on students’ performance level
  2. A description of how parents feel about the Modular Distance Learning Modality
  3. The effect of age on lung capacity
  4. The relationship between intelligence and self-esteem
  5. A description of students’ study habit during the implementation of modular distance learning


Reference

An introduction to research methods. (5 April 2021). Scribbr. Retrieved from https://www.scribbr.com/category/methodology/

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 RBN Library and Resource Center

Related Articles