QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH INSTRUMENT / TOOLS
The most used quantitative research technique is the survey. In a quantitative survey you may use a short answer responses or dichotomous questions, multiple choice answers, paragraph, check boxes, drop down, linear scale, multiple choice grid and more. As you can see there are various question formats that can be adapted to your research needs. Here are some examples of dichotomous, multiple choice, ranch ordering scaling, rating scale, staple scale
The Dichotomous Question
This type of questions are generally answered “yes/no”. For example: Have you traveled to Guatemala?
The Multiple Choice Questions
Where do you get the news from?
Other: Please Specify
“For this type of question it is important to consider including an "other" category because there may be other avenues by which the person first heard about your site that you might have overlooked” (Question Pro Survey Software, 2017).
Rank Order Scaling
Rank order scaling questions allow a certain set of brands or products to be ranked based upon a specific attribute or characteristic. Perhaps we know that Toyota, Honda, Mazda, and Ford are most likely to be purchased. You may request that the options be ranked based upon a particular attribute. Ties may or may not be allowed. If you allow ties, several options will have the same scores.
Based upon what you have seen, heard, and experienced, please rank the following brands according to their reliability. Place a "1" next to the brand that is most reliable, a "2" next to the brand that is next most reliable, and so on. Remember, no two cars can have the same ranking.
The Rating Scale
A rating scale question requires a person to rate a product or brand along a well-defined, evenly spaced continuum. Rating scales are often used to measure the direction and intensity of attitudes. The following is an example of a comparative rating scale question:
Which of the following categories best describes your last experience purchasing a product or service on our website? Would you say that your experience was:
Neither pleasant nor unpleasant
The Semantic Differential Scale
The semantic differential scale asks a person to rate a product, brand, or company based upon a seven-point rating scale that has two bi-polar adjectives at each end. The following is an example of a semantic differential scale question.
(7) Very Attractive
(1) Very Unattractive
Notice that unlike the rating scale, the semantic differential scale does not have a neutral or middle selection. A person must choose, to a certain extent, one or the other adjective.
The Staple Scale
The staple scale asks a person to rate a brand, product, or service according to a certain characteristic on a scale from +5 to -5, indicating how well the characteristic describes the product or service. The following is an example of a staple scale question:
When thinking about Data Mining Technologies, Inc. (DMT), do you believe that the word "innovative" aptly describes or poorly describes the company? On a scale of +5 to -5 with +5 being "very good description of DMT" and -5 being "poor description of DMT," how do you rank DMT according to the word "innovative"?
(+5) Describes very well
(-5) Poorly Describes
The Constant Sum Question
A constant sum question permits collection of "ratio" data, meaning that the data is able to express the relative value or importance of the options (option A is twice as important as option B)
The following question asks you to divide 100 points between a set of options to show the value or importance you place on each option. Distribute the 100 points giving the more important reasons a greater number of points. The computer will prompt you if your total does not equal exactly 100 points.
When thinking about the reasons you purchased our TargetFind data mining software, please rate the following reasons according to their relative importance.
Seamless integration with other software
User friendliness of software .........................................
Ability to manipulate algorithms .................................
Level of pre- and post-purchase service ....................................
Level of value for the price .........................................
Convenience of purchase/quick delivery ....................................
Total 100 points
The Open-Ended Question
The open-ended question seeks to explore the qualitative, in-depth aspects of a particular topic or issue. It gives a person the chance to respond in detail. Although open-ended questions are important, they are time-consuming and should not be over-used. An example of an open-ended question might be:
(If the respondent indicates they did not find what they were looking for...)
What products of services were you looking for that were not found on our website?
If you want to add an "Other" answer to a multiple choice question, you would use branching instructions to come to an open ended question to find out what Other....
The Demographic Question
Demographic questions are an integral part of any questionnaire. They are used to identify characteristics such as age, gender, income, race, geographic place of residence, number of children, and so forth. For example demographic questions will help you to classify the difference between product users and non-users. Perhaps most of your customers come from the Northeast, are between the ages of 50 and 65, and have incomes between $50,000 and $75,000.
Demographic data helps you paint a more accurate picture of the group of persons you are trying to understand. And by better understanding the type of people who use or are likely to use your product, you can allocate promotional resources to reach these people, in a more cost effective manner.
Psycho-graphic or life style questions are also included in the template files. These questions provide an in-depth psychological profile and look at activities, interests and opinions of respondents (Question Pro Survey Software, 2017).
Types of surveys
There are several types of surveys as telephone survey, online survey, in- person surveys, and mobile surveys. These surveys are administered by interviewers who have experience in research.
Production tasks is usually used in research related with education purpose. It can be time consuming and you may use it for diagnostic purposes to see the beginning, developing and ending of a phenomenon. This tools is simply an exam to evaluate knowledge. It can be a written, oral, or a reading or listening comprehension test or any other type of exam you might consider appropriate for your research purposes.
A checklist also known as ticklist or chart works as an inventory of behaviors or skills where the researcher checks indicators that are being observed (Hodder Education & Hachette UK Company, 2017). A checklist can be a quantitative or qualitative tool. If you look for specific criteria with a yes/no answer it becomes a quantitative tool. On the other hand, if you look for specific criteria or indicators and you want to deeply or briefly describe what you observe, it becomes a qualitative tool. A checklist is a list of aspects to observe as content, abilities, and behavior. It is a mechanism to verify if certain indicators or symptoms are present in a phenomenon. A checklist provides more information if the researcher records additional comments on the context (Hodder Education & Hachette UK Company, 2017).
Research is a wide and changing topic. The paradigm and type of study as well as your research questions, objectives and hypothesis will guide you to what instruments to use in your research problem.