When conducting quantitative research, data is often gathered using surveys either in person or through the Internet. If the information is collected through a survey questionnaire it usually has three sections: (a) inclusion/exclusion criteria, (b) demographic information and (c) the questions assessing the study variable (s) of interest.
Sample and Population
As is the case with qualitative research designs, this section describes the selection of participants (e.g. data), explaining the demographic characteristics and describing the proposed number in the sample being studied. It also includes the inclusion and the exclusion criteria for selecting the research sample. Sample sizes may vary based upon the research aim/question (s). Large sample sizes (e.g. ≥ 100), often leads to increased accuracy in estimates about the population.
Note: Students are encouraged to ask their course instructor for recommendations on sample sizes.
This section describes how many questions are going to be used (even if it is secondary data collection) and how the survey that led to the data collection was developed.
Example: “The data used in this research is from the cardiovascular diseases questionnaire used in research conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is a national cross-sectional research study representative of the U.S. population. The interviewers were elderly persons and minorities to provide a full representation of the U.S population.
Note: If the student plans to use a survey or other form of data collection, consult the course instructor for guidance.
In this section the student documents the participant’s recruitment process (e.g. consecutively, using a snowball approach, randomly, or other procedure that is free from bias). The student must always provide informed consent and specify the research is voluntary to all participants prior to starting the data collection process. Therefore, the student must describe the informed consent process in the methods section (if administering a survey).
This section describes the processes used while collecting the research data. It documents all the processes for gathering data, selecting participants (or sites), providing copies of the consent form (if applicable).
Describe the study variables, the parameters established for the variable (s) of study (e.g. optimal health risk scores are defined as ≥10”) and how these data collected was collected.