Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Quantitative Research Methods
Mack C. Shelley
Quantitative research begins with the idea that to measure something, particularly in numerical form, is to understand it better. The information that is collected is referred to collectively as data . The things that are measured are variables, meaning simply something that varies in value in repeated observations. Observational units can be individual students or teachers, school districts, states, or any other entity for which data are collected. Variables come in two primary forms: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative, or nominal, variables are simply names for categories. An example is sex, categorized as male or female. Although sex is a qualitative variable, it can be expressed, or coded, in numeric terms; for example, we could code sex as male = 0 and female = 1. Quantitative variables differ in that they have a clear direction, with values representing more or less of the variable. The simplest form of quantitative variable is ...