The social worker or researcher using quantitative data analysis can use “central tendency” to measure their data. Central tendency is the summary of averages or measure of the data collected (variables) that the researcher will use. Central tendency is made up of three components; mean, median, and mode. Mean is the average number, median is the middle attribute that represents the middle value, and lastly, the mode represents the most frequent value. (Hopefully every researcher remembers this from elementary school).
When researchers measure their variables, there are four levels that can be used, such as nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio measurement (pg. 324). Nominal measurement is the description of categorical variables is the level that describes a variable (gender, ethnicity) whose attributes are categorical (frequency). Ordinal measurement describes the variables in ranked ordered such as socioeconomic status of low, medium, or high. Interval measurement has equal distances attributes that are ranked ordered and there is no true zero point (ex. Scale). Ratio measurement has attributes of interval but has a true zero point.
There are three relationships among variables that researches can examine. Univariate analysis (looking at one variable at a time, very descriptive in nature), bivariate analysis (looks at the relationship between two variables, explanatory in nature) and multivariate analysis (looking at several measures or variables at a time) are the three relationships that researchers can focus on. There is a lot of work that goes into a research study and it is very important that social workers understand the essential methods of research.
Rubin, A., & Babbie, E. (2013). Brooks/Cole empowerment series: Essential research methods for social work. (3rded.). Australia:
Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.
Tarleton State University