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Research methods

With regards to quantitative research methods, there are a range of options. Some studies may not involve any quantitative techniques (see Table 10.11, level 1) or may involve quite basic gathering of numerical data (level 2). For example, feedback forms could ask participants to self-report whether clay modelling has reduced their anxiety over the past 6 weeks. Figures from this may be presented in descriptive statistics (which describe the data) such as percentages, but no further analysis will be undertaken. However, there are also more robust quantitative techniques that can be employed in research. Quantitative data could be analysed using inferential statistical techniques (which make inferences or predictions about the population based on the data). This will normally require

Table 10.11 The spectrum of options for quantitative research methods

1

2

3

4

5

No quantitative study

undertaken.

a survey or numerical questionnaire that assesses the number and demographics of participants involved and their personal reactions to a project (in numerical terms), but does not involve statistical testing.

A survey or

numerical

questionnaire

that is then

analysed

statistically.

Validated quantitative methods, such as psychological scales or physiological tests that are analysed statistically.

Multiple

quantitative

methods

employed

simultaneously

using more

advanced

statistical

techniques.

the use of a computer-based statistical programme. Depending on the study design that has been selected, this may involve comparisons of pre-test and post-test results, comparisons between experimental and control groups, or analyses of effects for different subgroups of participants. A further level of rigour (level 4) could include use of validated quantitative methods, such as psychological scales testing particular constructs such as anxiety. Validated scales (described further in Chapter 6) have been designed and tested to confirm that their psychometric properties are reliable. Alternatively, studies could involve physiological measures such as heart rate or stress hormones. Finally, level 5 could involve the use of multiple quantitative techniques to compare findings from different measures, as well as more advanced statistical techniques such as regression analyses to look at predictors of change.

John Field provides a very accessible introduction to statistical techniques and some of the major software packages used in research in his Discovering Statistics books (2013).(6,7)

 
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