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Useful Advice On How To Use A Dissertation Quantitative Research

Your dissertation is the most important part of your academic career. It highlights your skills and your knowledge as a researcher. A work of this magnitude can be approached in two different ways: qualitative, where you try to explain why people behave in certain ways and quantitative where you use numbers and statistics to explain a result.

So you are doing quantitative research based work.

Where to find your numbers and statistics

  • Ask people – Surveys are a great source of information. As long as you ask the same question or questions to a large selection of the population you can get some reliable information.
  • Monitoring – this can feel a bit like surveillance but you can watch to see how often a particular circumstance occurs.
  • Records – Church records, company accounts, and national statistics data, modern society really loves paper work.

Maybe your survey isn’t about quantities, maybe it’s about opinions. Is it possible to turn that in numbers? All those opinion surveys which start on a scale of one to five how strongly do you feel about a certain subject are perfect for this type of work. But be careful of the phraseology of your questions or you may end up with data unsuitable for this type of analysis.

What do you hope to achieve?

Be clear about what you need as you start collecting your information; this type of analysis is used for many reasons and you need to be sure of acquiring the information that will help you.

  • Are you attempting to replicate the results of someone else’s work as a way of proving their methods were valid?
  • Perhaps you want to take another researcher’s method into a different population or context and see if the results are the same.
  • You could always try a new method on the same population to see if you achieve similar results.
  • Your data could be used to show a link exists between a particular behavior and a condition i.e. smoking causes cancer.
  • Or you might be trying to uncover a reason for a result i.e. a brand taste is considered to receive low taste ratings in blind tests but not when the brand name is revealed.
  • This method is helpful when compiling your test results to prove a theory a researcher has presented in a journal.

Once you have your data you have a number of statistical analytical methods ranging from a simple graph showing correlations to cluster analysis and hypothesis testing.