What is quantitative research? (Uses and examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 April 2022

Quantitative research refers to the methods that scientists and other professionals use to collect, analyse and prepare information for evaluation in their work. Quantitative research can help you find accurate and reliable answers to your questions and you can use it to model, analyse and predict patterns in the past, present and future. Learning about what quantitative research is can help you implement these methods in your own work and produce better overall results. In this article, we look at what quantitative research is, what processes it can involve and helpful examples of this method.

What is quantitative research?

If you want to know the answer to 'What is quantitative research?', learning about what factors make up this method might be helpful. Scientists and other professionals use the term quantitative research or quantitative analysis to refer to a series of rigorous research methods you can use to find accurate and reliable answers to your questions. These methods are extremely helpful in finding existing or future patterns, modelling these and displaying them in an easily understood and accessible way. You can use the process of quantitative research in several ways, such as:

Predicting trends

You can use quantitative analysis to evaluate performance and measure the success of your projects. It can even help you make a value assessment of various financial instruments. By conducting quantitative research, you give yourself the best chance of identifying outcomes and forecasting accurate predictions. As an example of this, you might use this method of research to predict large scale financial events, such as a crash or a boom or forecast fluctuations in the growth of a stock. Companies who work within the stocks and investment industries often employ professionals who use these methods, known as 'quants'.

It isn't only companies and organisations within the private sector that use this method of research. Governmental and public bodies might use quantitative analysis to predict the effect large economic changes might have on government policies and voting. They can use this research to help plan and implement the right strategies at the right time and make their stay in government much more effective than otherwise. Identifying trends and patterns is one of the main uses for quantitative analysis, in addition to predicting the outcome that these events might have, meaning it has a huge impact on decision making.

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Provides reliable answers

There are many tools, resources and methods available to professionals who use quantitative analysis. These tools ensure that the answers you receive are more accurate and reliable than answers you find without using these methods. You can use this method in nearly any situation, whether you're dealing with simple equations and small values ranging to larger projects that might involve complicated factors and much more complex enumerations. You can use quantitative analysis on anything that you can actually quantify. This makes this an almost universally beneficial method to use when you're conducting this type of work.

Quantitative research is a commonly used and extremely effective way of providing reliable answers to your questions. Many large companies base decisions that have financial implications on the results of quantitative analysis. This can entirely change the work policies and overall direction that your company wants to take, depending on the answers that your research can provide. Using quantitative research can help you to get an advantage over your competitors or rivals and increase your profitability and the success of your business. Finding the right quantitative researcher or quant for your company can be extremely beneficial.

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The difference between quantitative and qualitative analysis

Qualitative and quantitative represent two different research and information collection. It's important to know the difference so that you don't accidentally misrepresent valuable information or conduct the wrong type of research when asked. There are some key defining factors that highlight the difference between these two forms of research. The largest difference between them is what each method seeks to determine:

Quantitative analysis

Quantitative analysis is a method that focuses on quantity and the question of 'What happened?'. For example, if using the method of quantitative analysis to research and evaluate a series of business transactions, you might find that the company you work for has made a profit of €10,000 this month, which is an increase of 15% more than the previous years. You can include this type of analysis within financial reports, helping you to more easily understand the growth, decline and effects of financial decisions. You can use this research with any factor that you can actively quantify.

Qualitative analysis

Qualitative research focuses on answering the question 'Why did that happen?'. By using qualitative analysis and the above example, you might find out who has been buying from your company, which resulted in such a large profit compared to other years. This can help you determine whether you want to implement a targeted advertising campaign to take full advantage of this fact, whether you want to modify your products or create new ones to fill this demand or to see if implemented policies and strategies have resulted in this success.

Fundamental distinctions

Both qualitative and quantitative research offers you the ability to view the information in a different context than the other. This can be helpful in numerous ways, one of the main ones being that it gives you more information to help you make any relevant decisions. Both of these methods can help you make better and more informed business decisions, which can be beneficial. Two fundamental distinctions between these methods are conceptual and functional differences. This is what these terms refer to:

Functional

Functional differences are the differences that make up the methodology of these methods. There are a lot of differences in the methodology of these two different methods, such as:

  • quantitative research collects data and information through measurements

  • quantitative research predicts outcomes using statistics and values, which are easily quantifiable

  • quantitative analysis presents its data as a statistical outcome.

In contrast to this:

  • qualitative research collects data through interview techniques and keen observation

  • qualitative research forecasts outcomes through use of information gained in these surveys and observations

  • qualitative analysis presents its data through language and description, as opposed to numbers and values.

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Conceptual

Conceptual differences focus on what companies actually want these methods to do, such as:

  • quantitative data focuses on hard factual data

  • quantitative research assumes everything is measurable.

In contrast to:

  • qualitative research looks for the reason behind the behaviour

  • qualitative analysis assumes there are various factors and realities that are always changing.

Uses of quantitative research in business

Here are a few ways businesses use this research method:

Reporting

One key way that professionals use quantitative analysis is in business reporting. Companies usually report their business earnings and other reports in a quarterly, monthly or yearly fashion. Financial data is an extremely important part of business and it's highly reported on. An important task for quantitative analysis in this is to analyse balance sheets. These sheets can include information like the gross profit, cost of goods sold and net profit. These can help you determine the health of a company. When financial professionals want to reduce the cost of goods sold to increase their profits.

Through a thorough examination and analysis of this data, businesses can try to keep their costs down and ensure that their profits remain up. This can also help them implement policies and activities that can help them achieve their targets. You can use quantitative analysis in numerous situations to help you improve your business in various different ways. You might use it to help uncover the relationship between costs and predicted sales volumes or even your return on investment when assuming some debt. Here is a more specific example:

Advertising

If you want to determine whether a specific advertising campaign is actually profitable, you can tell your marketing team to use important quantitative and qualitative data points, such as the cost of customer acquisition and demographics information into a model which can help you measure the variables and find the best outcome. Information like this that regards your target audience is very important, as it can lead to marketing decisions that can affect your ability to gain new customers, keep your old ones and ensure customer loyalty.

Advertising campaigns and strategies can cost your company a large amount of money, so you want to get the best result out of these campaigns when you launch them. Both quantitative and qualitative research can help you find the most relevant information to make your campaigns as effective as possible. You can use these methods in various other departments, such as with sales and financial teams.