What are the most important factors that influence the career choices of Australian university students?
What proportion of British male and female university students use the top 5 social networks?
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?
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.So the dependent variable is still daily calorific intake, but the research question aims to understand a particular component of that dependent variable (i.e., the percentage of American men and women exceeding the recommend daily calorific allowance).In the second example, the research question is not only interested in what the factors influencing career choices are, but which of these factors are the most important.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, in order to know how to structure your quantitative research question, you need to start by selecting the type of quantitative research question you are trying to create: descriptive, comparative and/or relationship-based.Whether you are trying to create a descriptive, comparative or relationship-based research question, you will need to identify the different types of variable that you are trying to measure, manipulate and/or control.There is no "one best way" to structure a quantitative research question.However, to create a well-structured quantitative research question, we recommend an approach that is based on four steps: (1) Choosing the type of quantitative research question you are trying to create (i.e., descriptive, comparative or relationship-based); (2) Identifying the different types of variables you are trying to measure, manipulate and/or control, as well as any groups you may be interested in; (3) Selecting the appropriate structure for the chosen type of quantitative research question, based on the variables and/or groups involved; and (4) Writing out the problem or issues you are trying to address in the form of a complete research question.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).