In quantitative research the aim is to determine the relationship between one thing, the independent variable, and another, the dependent variable, in a population. Quantitative research is all about quantifying relationships between variables. According to Polit, et al (2001, p 33), "variation in the dependent variable is presumed to depend on variation in the independent variable". In other words, the independent variable causes the dependent to occur. Quantitative research designs are either descriptive or experimental. A descriptive study is an interpretation of the relationship of persons, situations, or the frequency in which phenomena happens. An experiment establishes the relationship through manipulation of the study sample.
For an accurate estimate of the relationship between variables, a descriptive study usually needs a sample of hundreds or even thousands of subjects; an experiment, may need only tens of subjects. The estimate of the relationship is less likely to be biased if you have a high participation rate in a sample selected randomly from a population.
In all studies, subject individuality can affect the relationship you are investigating. Limit the effect of individualism either by using a less diverse sample of subjects or by measuring the characteristics and including them in the analysis. The subjects of the dream study were recruited by on of the authors instead of being randomly selected. Many of the subjects were also participants in an e-mail list on lucid dreaming.
A research study is never complete until its results have been shared with others, colleagues and students alike. Journal articles are a primary means of communicating research findings. Using a standard format, usually the American Psychological Association (APA) format, researchers are able to express their ideas and findings in a clear, systematic manner. A standard format also helps the reader understand the information because of the organization of the...