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If you are unfamiliar with the different types of variable that may be part of your study, the article, Types of variable, should get you up to speed.It explains the two main types of variables: categorical variables (i.e., nominal, dichotomous and ordinal variables) and continuous variables (i.e., interval and ratio variables).It also explains the difference between independent and dependent variables, which you need to understand to create quantitative research questions.
The example descriptive research questions discussed above are written out in full below: How many calories do American men and women consume per day?
How often do British university students use Facebook each week?
Once you identifying the different types of variable you are trying to measure, manipulate and/or control, as well as any groups you may be interested in, it is possible to start thinking about the way that the three types of quantitative research question can be structured. The structure of the three types of quantitative research question differs, reflecting the goals of the question, the types of variables, and the number of variables and groups involved. Take the following examples: How many calories do American men and women consume per day?
By structure, we mean the components of a research question (i.e., the types of variables, groups of interest), the number of these different components (i.e., how many variables and groups are being investigated), and the order that these should be presented (e.g., independent variables before dependent variables). How often do British university students use Facebook each week?
An independent variable (sometimes called an experimental or predictor variable) is a variable that is being manipulated in an experiment in order to observe the effect this has on a dependent variable (sometimes called an outcome variable). Some of these starting phrases are highlighted in of American men and women exceed their daily calorific allowance?
For example, if we were interested in investigating the relationship between gender and attitudes towards music piracy amongst adolescents, the independent variable would be gender and the dependent variable attitudes towards music piracy. All descriptive research questions have a dependent variable. However, how the dependent variable is written out in a research question and what you call it are often two different things.In the second example, the dependent variable is Facebook usage per week.Again, the name of this dependent variable makes it easy for us to understand that we are trying to measure the often (i.e., how frequently; e.g., 16 times per week) British university students use Facebook.The appropriate structure for each of these quantitative research questions is set out below: There are six steps required to construct a descriptive research question: (1) choose your starting phrase; (2) identify and name the dependent variable; (3) identify the group(s) you are interested in; (4) decide whether dependent variable or group(s) should be included first, last or in two parts; (5) include any words that provide greater context to your question; and (6) write out the descriptive research question. In the first example, the dependent variable is daily calorific intake (i.e., calories consumed per day).Each of these steps is discussed in turn: You can start descriptive research questions with any of the following phrases: How many? Clearly, this descriptive research question is asking us to measure the number of calories American men and women consume per day.Therefore, when you think about constructing your descriptive research question, make sure you have included any words that provide greater context to your question. (1) the starting phrase, (2) the name of the dependent variable, (3) the name of the group(s) you are interested in, and (4) any potential joining words ?you can write out the descriptive research question in full.If you plan to only create descriptive research questions, you may simply have a number of dependent variables that you need to measure.However, where you plan to create comparative and/or relationship-based research questions, you will deal with both dependent and independent variables. When a company, non-profit group, or politician needs to find out how their stakeholders or constituents feel, they often create and implement a questionnaire.Note: You may want to order the questions so that if a person says yes or no to a certain question, they bypass any questions that don't apply to them.