Quantitative Social Research Methods: Research Review



Quantitative methods in research emphasize the need to use objective measurements and numerical analysis of data collected using various techniques to reach an informed position which can be communicated to specific or general audience. Quantitative research is preferred since it is systematic. Empirical investigation of real time data is done making it reliable while making conclusions on various scenarios affecting humans. The review done in this paper will be based on Mona Chalabi’s article ‘Anti-LGBT views still prevail, global survey finds’ which was authored in 2016 borrowing heavily from techniques in quantitative research to present reliable information which can be critiqued by other authors in future. Quantitative research allows the researcher to analyze data. This is the major advantage ads compared to qualitative research. The researcher is allowed to use some aspects of qualitative research where characteristics which cannot be quantified are included in the research. This paper will use the identified source to explore the process of quantitative research. The processes explored include theoretical framework or the theory which the author is relying on to develop the argument. Quantitative research also harbors several limitations such as its inability to focus more on context and particularities (Holland, Thomson & Henderson, 2006).  

Theory and Source of Data

While making a report based on a quantitative research, the theory the author is communicating or basing the argument should be clear. In Chalabi’s report on lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender individuals, the issue of criminalization of LGBTI is used as the underlying theory which forms the foundation to establish the perception of adults in a situation where their children was found to be gay. In the original survey by ILGA-RIWI 2016, the factors considered while conducting the research are expounded. The objectives of a research determines whether a quantitative approach is employed as compared to a qualitative approach (Sukamolson, 2010). In quantitative research, numerical data is collected.  Therefore, it implies that there must be included a section for analysis where mathematical based techniques or programs such as SPSS which is a statistical analysis program programed to ease the work of data analysis by having techniques which have been input making it possible to simply feed raw data and choose the type of analysis needed. The theory is connected to the hypothesis which is the immediate process following the theory. A hypothesis is a supposition. It is a question that the author works to establish whether it is true or false. It is the basis of the research as the data collected is supposed to determine which of the proposed hypotheses is correct. 

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The data used in the report is from a survey by ILGA-RIWI 2016. In the research conducted by the two associations in conjunction, it was established that there were regional differences in the opinion presented. It was therefore important to consider the sampling method used to establish whether the research reached the threshold for quantitative research. The opinion presented shall include citation from peer reviewed sources on the subject. Variables are the contrasting characteristics used in quantitative research (Patel, 2009). Sampling is the process of taking a small group from a large population to use it as a representative of the whole population. Due to factors such as time and limitation in other resources, it is not possible for a researcher to work with the whole population to find their opinions in the topic addressed by Chalabi. Identification of sample size is essential (Delice, 2010). The sample size if often determined by the size of the population being represented. The respondents should be selected randomly or using a technique that will ensure that there is no bias in the representation. 

ILGA therefore worked with 96,331 respondents who completed the full battery of questions on perceptions of LGBTI people. The survey questions were presented in questionnaires with a hybrid of open ended and closed ended questions. In such a topic where the opinion of people is supposed to be compared in relation to their region, the respondents had to come from different regions. The researchers therefore sampled data from 53 states. Geographical representation was used in the selection to ensure that the information presented was as factual as possible. The size of the data being sampled can be significantly determining while considering issues such as reliability. During peer review such factors are considered. Chalabi uses secondary data in the report. Secondary data is defined as information which has typically been collected by researchers not involved in the current assessment (Acaps, 2012). Errors are minimized in the sampling and measuring process to ensure that the information presented can be relied upon (Muijs, 2004). In a situation where errors are supposedly inclusive in the research, the researcher should report using concepts such as confidence interval. In the report by Chalabi published in the Guardian, the ideas presented revolving around the perceptions of parents in situations where their children were reported to be gay had to be supported by data. However, Chalabi could not borrow a whole study to support his argument. Therefore, objectivity is needed to identify the sections to be reported. 

A single survey could not be used to make a conclusion. Chalabi therefore uses a survey done by two groups which established that 28% of the respondents globally responded that it was acceptable if their male child always dressed and expressed themselves as girls. The issue of LGBTI has taken center stage in discussions on their acceptability in the society and protection of their rights as other groups in the society. United States has come a long way to recognize them and their rights though the society is still adamant prompting such surveys to establish what parents thought and whether they would accept LGBTI children in their midst. Chalabi emphasizes the need to have data collected from different locations to have a factual argument on geographical perception which is an important factor in LGBTI issues. A separate report is used to support the argument that LGBTI individuals still face hostility considering that in 13 states which represented 6% of UN states, it was punishable by death to find individuals engaging in same sex activities. In such a state, it would translate that parents would not allow their children to adopt habits that would insinuate they are LGBTI. Individual perceptions have changed especially in the internet era where such topics are discussed helping an individual depart from radicalized views towards LGBTI individuals. Social media has enabled deeper social interaction making it possible for individuals to interact with LGBTI and having a deeper understanding of their plight and the reason behind their choice of life (Kirik, Arslan, Cetinkaya & Gul, 2015). 

Data Analysis and Findings

Data is analyzed using various techniques to help understand various characteristics about the population. Sampling is followed by data analysis. In the data collected from the respondents, it was possible to establish their perception towards LGBTI and whether they supported the criminalization of LGBTI. In the 13 UN countries mentioned above, many residents supported the criminalization with the argument being supported by 34% of respondents from Asia, seventeen percent of respondents from Europe and fourteen percent from Oceania. Same sex activities have been viewed as foreign in most societies with those propagating them qualifying to be outcasts. The report categorically presented the response from different regions which was needed. It was wrong to generalize the responses from different continents since the individuals are in different stages of civilization and the idea is mostly viewed to be western or borrowed from Europe. Following the definition and techniques in qualitative research, the report by Chalabi and the surveys borrowed can be considered to be a hybrid research that employs both qualitative and quantitative techniques to ensure that the topic is thoroughly covered. 

To authenticate the correctness of the information presented in the article, a comparison is done to an article by Bevilacqua, Harper and Kent with the subject ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Iran’s International Human Rights Obligations’ which can offer insight on the views by human rights advocates who feel that every individual should be accorded the rights they deserve regardless of their sexual orientation. The rights which are protected include right to life where the article criminalizes acts such as death sentence as provided in 13 UN countries. Non-discrimination, where every individual is supposed to be treated with no prejudice regardless of their sexual orientation and prohibition of torture considering that torture is common among LGBTI individuals (Bevilacqua, Harper and Kent, 2014). The ideas communicated in the article correlates with the ones presented by Chalabi with LGBTI individuals being presented as vulnerable with parents failing to play their role to protect their children in case they presented habits aligned to LGBTI. On the contrary, most parents try to change the children before the issue becomes fully blown. Using the data provided, Chalabi therefore supports his hypothesis that anti-LGBT views still exist across the world. However, the degree repulsiveness is varying using data from various studies to make a factual argument. The employment of a global survey is important to ensure that the report adopts a global image making it marketable and applicable to viewers across the internet space. 

Data Representation

The report is a good account of the research. The data has been presented factually without deviating from the subject. The title has been clearly selected to address the findings from the research. Existing research in the area as indicated by the article by Bevilacqua, Harper and Kent, (2014) shows that LGBTI individuals experience discrimination, torture and infringement of their fundamental rights. The surveys used in the report have taken a slightly different area of interest focusing on individual perception. Most studies have focused on the passing of pro-LGBTI laws in different countries and states which has stirred a global discussion on their acceptability in the society. In most societies such as the American and European societies, LGBTI individuals are experiencing reduced hostility as compared to Arab, Asian and African societies. The Muslim countries are the most hostile for the individuals to live in. The report therefore aligns itself with the findings of other surveys done in the field. Other media reports have explored various topics which include but are not limited to homosexuality and its criminalization, the risk gay asylum seekers are subjected to, discrimination in education in reference to LGBTI, domestic violence as experienced by LGBTI individuals and the rights of LGBTI individuals. In the recent past, the topic has been widely discussed especially after activists in United States pushed various states to pass laws recognizing them and protecting their rights as those of other citizens. The standards of quantitative research have been achieved as provided by Howe & Eisenhart, 1990. In media reporting, the topic is addressed in few words but working to ensure that the audience is not under informed. 

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The data collected came from two surveys, one by ILGA in conjunction with RIWI Corp and another one by ILGA. In the first survey, more than ninety three thousand respondents were interviewed to respond to questions which would reveal their perceptions in reference to the subject. The survey was done in 2016. The sampling procedure ensured that geographical differences featured in the final report. The perception of respondents in each continent or geographical region slightly differed from that of another region. In Muslim countries, LGBTI is punishable by death strongly determining the perception parents have on their children. In such a scenario, parents would try to mold their children to drop LGBTI habits rather than culturing them. The data collected was gathered in an appropriate way. The opinion expressed by the respondents was not manipulated to fit a given hypothesis. The respondents were supposed to respond to thirty open ended and closed ended questions which would help reveal their opinion. The approach used therefore qualifies the methodology for quantitative research with Chalabi ensuring that two surveys are used to support the argument. The findings fit in the existing research explaining the hostility faced by LGBTI individuals in some regions and also providing area of future research where an individual may explore the role of family in progressing LGBTI views. 

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