What is Quantitative Research? Meaning, Types and Examples

What is Quantitative Research? Meaning, Types and Examples

Quantitative research is a systematic analysis of data. It is heavily focused on statistics and numbers that give a clear picture of a trend, behaviour or pattern. The goal is to find objective, generalizable results. It's common in many fields like social sciences and marketing. 

Before we dive deeper into this topic, let’s understand the types and examples of quantitative research. 

Let's say a company wants to launch a new product, a fitness tracker and wants to understand the potential market demand and consumer preferences. To gather quantitative stats, they will have to follow these steps: 


  1. Survey creation 

The company designs a structured survey questionnaire and distributes it to a large sample of potential customers, either through online platforms, email, or in-person interviews. The survey may include questions about demographics (age, gender, income), usage habits (frequency of exercising, types of activities), preferences (features desired in a fitness tracker), and purchasing behaviour (willingness to pay, preferred distribution channels).

  1. Data Collection

Responses from the survey are collected and converted into numerical data. For example, age could be categorized into different groups (e.g., 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, etc.), and preferences could be rated on a numerical scale (e.g., 1-5, with 1 being "not important" and 5 being "very important"). 

  1. Analysis

Using statistical software, the company analyzes the data to identify trends, patterns, and correlations. They may examine relationships between demographic variables and preferences, determine the most desired features of the fitness tracker, and assess the potential market size based on respondents' willingness to pay.

  1. Findings

The findings of the quantitative research provide valuable insights into the target market. For example, the analysis might reveal that younger consumers are more interested in advanced features like heart rate monitoring, while older consumers prioritize simplicity and ease of use. The research could also estimate the size of the market segment willing to purchase the product at different price points.

  1. Decision Making

Based on the findings, the company can make informed decisions about product design, marketing strategies, pricing, and distribution channels. They can tailor their product to meet the specific preferences of their target market and allocate resources effectively to maximize market penetration and profitability.


Quantitative market research allows companies to gather reliable data, quantify consumer behaviour, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their marketing efforts and improve their chances of success in the marketplace.

Types of Quantitative Research 

  1. Descriptive Research

Descriptive research involves describing characteristics or behaviours of a population or phenomenon without manipulating variables. Researchers collect data through surveys, observations, or existing records to provide a comprehensive picture of the subject of study. Descriptive statistics, such as means, frequencies, and percentages, are used to summarize the data.

However, this method has a major limitation. It does not explain causal relationships between variables. It is primarily concerned with describing rather than explaining phenomena.



A government agency conducts a census to gather demographic data about the population, such as age, gender, education level, and income. By analyzing census data, policymakers can identify demographic trends, allocate resources effectively, and plan for future infrastructure and social programs. Also Read: What are Consumer Insights: Meaning, Examples and Scope


  1. Correlational research

Correlational research involves examining the relationship between two or more variables to determine if changes in one variable are associated with changes in another variable. Researchers measure the degree of association between variables using correlation coefficients, such as Pearson's r or Spearman's rho. 

Correlation does not imply causation but indicates the strength and direction of the relationship. This method allows researchers to identify relationships between variables and make predictions based on observed patterns. It can generate hypotheses for experimental research.


A social scientist conducts a study to examine the relationship between socioeconomic status and health outcomes. By collecting data on income, education, and health indicators (such as disease prevalence or life expectancy) from a large sample of participants, the researcher can determine if there is a correlation between socioeconomic status and health.


  1. Survey Research

Survey research involves collecting data from a sample of individuals through structured questionnaires or interviews. Researchers design surveys with carefully constructed questions aimed at gathering specific information from participants. Surveys can be administered in various formats, including online, by mail, over the phone, or in person.

However, survey responses may be influenced by factors such as question-wording, response bias, and sample representativeness. Ensuring the validity and reliability of survey instruments is crucial.



A company wants to gather feedback from customers about their satisfaction with a new product. They design an online survey asking about product features, usability, and overall satisfaction. By analyzing survey responses, the company can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance the product.


  1. Observational Research

Observational research involves observing and systematically recording behaviours or events as they occur in natural settings, without intervention. Researchers conduct observations in real-world environments, such as public spaces, classrooms, or workplaces. They may use structured observation protocols or unobtrusive methods to minimize interference.

This method allows researchers to study behaviours in natural contexts, providing insights into real-world phenomena. It can be used to generate hypotheses for further investigation. Observer bias and subjectivity may influence the interpretation of observational data. It can be challenging to maintain objectivity and consistency across observers.


A researcher observes classroom interactions to study the effectiveness of different teaching methods on student engagement. By systematically recording teacher behaviours and student responses during lessons, the researcher can identify which instructional strategies lead to higher levels of student participation and learning. Check out this blog on Top 10 Market Research Tools and Software


  1. Longitudinal Research

Longitudinal research involves collecting data from the same individuals or groups over an extended period to track changes or trends over time. Researchers conduct repeated measurements or observations at multiple time points to examine how variables change over time. 

Longitudinal studies can be prospective (following participants forward in time) or retrospective (using existing data to track changes). It allows researchers to study developmental trajectories, stability, and change over time. It provides insights into the long-term effects of interventions or natural processes. 

Longitudinal studies require substantial time, resources, and participant commitment. Attrition (dropouts) and practice effects (participants becoming familiar with the study procedures) can affect the validity of longitudinal data.



A research team follows a cohort of individuals over several decades to study the long-term effects of early childhood interventions on educational attainment and career outcomes. By collecting data at multiple time points, including during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, researchers can track the participants' educational and occupational trajectories to assess the impact of the intervention over time.

Each type of quantitative research method offers unique strengths and weaknesses, and researchers often choose the most appropriate method based on their research questions, objectives, and practical considerations.

Final Word

Quantitative research is a daily part of our world whether we realize it or not. It has the power to shape markets and trends on a global scale. At Humann, we make the terms of research easier for you to understand. In our upcoming blogs, we will cover some more important aspects of research that are creating an impact on consumers’ lives every day. 

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Related: Consumer Research Process Explained in 7 Simple Steps