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Statistics and Quantitative Methods

Introduction

If you are using quantitative data in your assignment or dissertation, then you will need to analyse it in some way.

Check carefully what is expected of you as this can vary considerably depending on what subject you are studying and at what level.

The resources on this page are designed to help you with your analysis.

This Short Glossary explains some of the key statistical terms you will meet.

If you would like to discuss your work, then you can book a tutorial with us or drop in at the Maths Help Centre. Visit our Support for Maths, Stats and Numeracy page for more details.

Collecting and Categorising Data

Before you can do any statistics you will need data. This might have been provided for you or you might need to collect it yourself by doing experiments or conducting a survey.

If you will be writing your own questionnaire, then this resource provides some advice: Planning a Survey

Your data will consist of a number of variables, with a value of each variable for each participant (or experiment) in your study. You will usually have data from a sample of the population you are interested in.

There are various ways to think about the kinds of variables you have. This resource  explains some of the terms used: Data and Variables

Descriptive Statistics

In most cases you will start by summarising your data using descriptive statistics, such as averages, and illustrating your report using graphs and charts.

This resource (Descriptive statistics) describes some of the key measures you might use and how to choose the most appropriate charts.

This is a quiz on Choosing and interpreting charts

Statistical Tests (Inferential Statistics)

If you have studied quantitative research methods as part of your course, then you will probably be expected to use statistical tests (inferential statistics) in your work.

This resource (Statistical Tests) gives an overview of what statistical tests can do and how to interpret p values.

You will need to decide which statistical test to use and this resource (Which Statistical Test)

provides some advice on that choice.

Using software

You will often be expected to use software to carry out your analysis.

If you have raw data, then you could use SPSS or Minitab and these resources contain links to videos and web pages that can help you with these programs.

Using SPSS to analyse your data

Using Minitab to analyse your data

If you are doing a Systematic Review, then you might use Review Manager for your meta-analysis. This resource shows you how to get started with the program. (RevMan Instructions)

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