Quantitative approaches make use of a relatively large number of cases for investigation. Household sample surveys with structured questionnaires are the most commonly used application of quantitative methods in social science. They can be a good way of gathering quantitative information on socio-economic patterns (read more Quantitative Methods).
Common instruments are:
Structured Sample Surveys
Structured sample surveys can be a good source of information regarding quantitative information on the conditions of sampling units
such as households, SMEs and social institutions. Scheduled-structured interviews are the most common form in surveys. The questions, their wording and their sequence are fixed within a structured questionnaire and identical for every responder. Therewith variations between given responses can be attributed to actual differences between the responders and not to variations in the process of interviewing.
In this context, the most commonly used type of question is the standardized question in which quantitative information is requested, response categories are specified and/or fixed alternatives supplied.
1.) How many persons live in your household? ___ persons
2.) Have you heard of Solar Home Systems before? ( ) yes ( ) no
3.) Which of the following energy sources are used for cooking purposes in your household? ( ) Firewood ( ) Dung ( ) LPG
Beside standardized information, to some extent additional qualitative information can be gathered by the use of open questions. Open questions allow the responder to answer more freely without limitations by given answers, and can provide interesting additional information. However, analysis of open questions for large samples can be a time-consuming task.
1.) What changes in daily life could be observed after the purchase of your improved stove? ___________________
2.) What are the main problems your household currently has to deal with? ________________________________
The idea of standardized questions is to have a equal interview situation and to achieve comparable results. Open questions can make it complicately to evaluate the results.