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Foundations of Quantitative Research


Foundations of Quantitative Research Methods aims to provide you with a solid foundation in understanding and applying a range of quantitative data collection and analysis methods.  

This module will:

  • Develop students’ understanding of a range of different approaches to collecting and analysing quantitative data (e.g. specifying hypotheses, measuring concepts, designing experiments and surveys, producing descriptions and correlations etc).
  • Give students hands-on experience of undertaking some of these approaches in order to develop their own competence in conducting quantitative research (e.g. designing your own survey).

It is important to realise that the ability to conduct and consume quantitative research is not solely dependent on your ability to use software, perform calculations or manipulate some data that you found/generated.  Quantitative research is fundamentally about sensible, logical research design:

No data analysis, no matter how futuristic its name, will work if we aren’t asking the right questions, if we aren’t making the right comparisons, if the underlying assumptions aren’t sound, or if the data used aren’t appropriate. (De Mesquita & Fowler, 2021)

Therefore there will be considerable emphasis on developing students’ conceptual understanding of quantitative research methods.  Throughout this module students will learn about the theoretical and statistical underpinnings of quantitative research methods, and discuss and critique contemporary examples of quantitative social science (e.g. growth in food and fuel insecurity, attitudes to Brexit).  Students will develop their ability to specify research questions that address a numeric aspect of the social world, formulate testable hypotheses, translate key concepts into measurable variables, derive representative samples from a wider population, and apply a range of common, insightful data analysis techniques using appropriate statistical software.  Numbers and other forms of quantitative evidence are not inherently more or less trustworthy than findings from qualitative research, therefore we will reflect frequently on the ways in which quantitative research methods can be misapplied and abused.  On successful completion of this module the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate critical knowledge and understanding of the fundamental elements of quantitative research.
  • Apply a range of quantitative techniques and methods to answer research questions.
  • Engage with data analytically, critically and ethically.
  • Demonstrate well-developed capacities for devising, planning, implementing and presenting research exercises.

Students who participate in this module will also learn a range of academic, interpersonal, communication and self-management skills.

This is an SCQF Level 8 module, and upon successful completion, participants will be awarded 20 credits.



The module will be delivered at Paisley and Lanarkshire campuses.

The planned timetable is Thursday two-hour seminars and Friday recorded lectures.  This will be confirmed ahead of course commencement.


Course presenter

This module will be delivered by Dr Diarmuid McDonnell.


NOTE: This is a university module and upon approval of your application, you will be invited to register and then supported to complete enrolment. To enrol on the university system, the first step involves security set-up using the Microsoft Authenticator app; you will need to ensure that you have a compatible smartphone.

Further information is available at the Student Information Portal.

To access this module via the CPD route, individuals should be ordinarily resident in Scotland.  If you do not meet this criteria, please enquire here.

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