21 Pages

Quantitative research and analysis


The component of a research thesis that scares students most is nearly always the statistical analysis. This fear is not completely unfounded, because statistical analysis is a complex area where you can be, in the opinion of experts (including your examiners), completely and utterly wrong. It is also an area where your supervisor/s, with the best will in the world, sometimes can’t give you much help, because they may lack confidence in statistical analysis. If you make mistakes in your data collection and analysis, they can be difficult or impossible to correct at a later stage, which can result in serious problems if those mistakes are detected by examiners, rather than by you. This chapter aims to demystify the quantitative research process and give you some guidelines for performing quality quantitative analysis. It can’t make you an expert in statistics, or guarantee that the quantitative component of your thesis is well done, but following the recommended steps can decrease the likelihood that you will make disastrous mistakes.