How to Format a Quantitative Research Design

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Quantitative research -- research that uses numerical data -- gives accurate results only through suitable planning and design. That being the case, the design of a quantitative research project is an important step in the process of quantitative investigations. After introducing the problem and previous research related to it, you should write the research design in a proper format so that other researchers will be able to understand clearly the details of the methods used.

  • Describe the sample. State what population the sample is meant to represent. Describe the planned origin, demographics, sample size and any potentially important characteristics of the sample. In this section, also state the sampling method; if the sampling will not be random, explain why. Tables can help you clearly display the sample's characteristics.

  • Report the results of the study's power analysis. Power analysis should always be performed before the study (during the design as opposed to after sampling) so that you can justify your sample size estimation. Mention your method of power calculation, as there are many.

  • State the expected effect size. The effect size gives justification for your study to be carried out; if the effect size is too small, you will be unlikely to see interpretable and significant results. State what effect size statistic you will use.

  • Describe the form or forms of data analysis. This section should include both what form of analysis you will use and why that form of analysis is suitable for the data set and problem of interest. Clearly state the planned comparisons and hypotheses, as doing so will give your design more credibility in the event that the study's results are statistically significant.

  • Express post-design plans. Describe what you will do in both the cases of finding statistically significant results and failing to reject the null hypotheses. If the current research design is part of a pilot study, briefly describe the main study.

References

  • "The Reviewer's Guide to Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences"; Gregory Hancock, et al.; 2010
  • "Designing Quantitative Experiments: Prediction Analysis"; John Wolberg; 2010
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