Quantitative Data

Find out why it's important to work with different types of data when measuring the experience of people who have dementia. Get tips to help you do this.

‘Quantitative’ refers to data that is numerical.

Questions are about quantities, for example: 

  • how many people living with dementia have been admitted to our hospital from care homes without their “This Is Me” information to guide staff about how to meet their needs? 
  • what percentage of people answered ‘yes’ or ‘no’,  chose option 'a', 'b' or 'c' for our survey question,?

Useful for:

gaining insight into trends and patterns among the people you are engaging with. This can give strength to your plans and findings and help direct your next steps.

Examples:

  • ‘During the co-production stage of this project, 90% of the participants said that they would like the service to have a befriending element. We therefore included this in our service design.’
  • ‘Of the 120 service users who provided feedback to us, 80% said they were Satisfied or Very Satisfied with the service’. This means that only 96 people had some level of satisfaction with the service, but to explore the reasons why 24 service users were unsatisfied you will need qualitative data.

Strengths 

  • It’s easy to ask the same questions, seeking the same set of responses every time.
  • It’s easy to summarise information given to set response ranges, for example as percentages.
  • You may be able to be generalise the results to the wider population, if the responses are from a representative sample of your target user group.
  • It’s easy to monitor changes in response rates to your set question response ranges over time.
  • It may involve little writing and/or no speaking, which can be helpful for people who have difficulties about writing or with speech.

Weaknesses 

  • You need lots of participants. This may be difficult to achieve, especially for minority groups.
  • Results are rarely in detail and there’s a risk of overlooking minority views. If 8 out of 10 people living with dementia like the service, why is this and what do you know about the others? There could be a discriminatory impact.
  • Can be inflexible. There’s a risk of importing unconscious bias, especially if you set questions without involvement of people living with dementia and/or carers.
  • Some people may feel prevented from having their say on what matters to them if they can only choose answers you have selected for questions you have decided to ask. 
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