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Learning Goal: I’m working on a psychology discussion question and need the explanation and answer to help me learn.

Find and read a quantitative peer-reviewed journal article that relates to your topic in

which the researchers use existing data (a dataset versus collecting their own


What information about the dataset do the researchers include?

How do they describe their research methods?

Which variables do they analyze and why?

What are their hypotheses? What statistical analyses so they use?

Explain why discussing the data and methods is important to establish the validity and reliability of the research.

Discuss any critiques you have of the Methods/Data section of the article. Are they missing any information that would be useful to the understanding of the



Research Methodologies

Quantitative Research Measures

When you are considering a quantitative approach to your research, you need to identify why types of measures you will use in your study.  This will determine what type of numbers you will be using to collect your data.  There are four levels of measurement:

  • Nominal: These are numbers where the order of the numbers do not matter.  They aim to identify separate information.  One example is collecting zip codes from research participants.  The order of the numbers does not matter, but the series of numbers in each zip code indicate different information (Adamson and Prion, 2013).


  • Ordinal: Also known as rankings because the order of these numbers matter.  This is when items are given a specific rank according to specific criteria.  A common example of ordinal measurements include ranking-based questionnaires, where participants are asked to rank items from least favorite to most favorite.  Another common example is a pain scale, where a patient is asked to rank their pain on a scale from 1 to 10 (Adamson and Prion, 2013).


  • Interval: This is when the data are ordered and the distance between the numbers matters to the researcher (Adamson and Prion, 2013).  The distance between each number is the same.  An example of interval data is test grades.


  • Ratio: This is when the data are ordered and have a consistent distance between numbers, but has a “zero point.”  This means that there could be a measurement of zero of whatever you are measuring in your study (Adamson and Prion, 2013).  An example of ratio data is measuring the height of something because the “zero point” remains constant in all measurements.  The height of something could also be zero.

Focus Groups

This is when a select group of people gather to talk about a particular topic.  They can also be called discussion groups or group interviews (Dawson, 2019).  They are usually lead by a moderator  to help guide the discussion and ask certain questions.  It is critical that a moderator allows everyone in the group to get a chance to speak so that no one dominates the discussion.  The data that are gathered from focus groups tend to be thoughts, opinions, and perspectives about an issue.

Advantages of Focus Groups

  • Only requires one meeting to get different types of responses.
  • Less researcher bias due to participants being able to speak openly.
  • Helps participants overcome insecurities or fears about a topic.
  • The researcher can also consider the impact of participant interaction.

Disadvantages of Focus Groups

  • Participants may feel uncomfortable to speak in front of an audience, especially if the topic is sensitive or controversial.
  • Since participation is voluntary, not every participant may contribute equally to the discussion.
  • Participants may impact what others say or think.
  • A researcher may feel intimidated by running a focus group on their own.
  • A researcher may need extra funds/resources to provide a safe space to host the focus group.
  • Because the data is collective, it may be difficult to determine a participant’s individual thoughts about the research topic.

Theoretical Analysis

Often used for nonhuman research, theoretical analysis is a qualitative approach where the researcher applies a theoretical framework to analyze something about their topic.  A theoretical framework gives the researcher a specific “lens” to view the topic and think about it critically. it also serves as context to guide the entire study.  This is a popular research method for analyzing works of literature, films, and other forms of media.  You can implement more than one theoretical framework with this method, as many theories complement one another.

Common theoretical frameworks for qualitative research are (Grant and Osanloo, 2014):

  • Behavioral theory
  • Change theory
  • Cognitive theory
  • Content analysis
  • Cross-sectional analysis
  • Developmental theory
  • Feminist theory
  • Gender theory
  • Marxist theory
  • Queer theory
  • Systems theory
  • Transformational theory


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