Preface

This book is an introduction to quantitative research in the scientific and health disciplines. The whole research process is introduced, from asking a research question to analysis and reporting of the data. The focus, however, is on the analysis of data.

Supporting documents

To support this textbook, the following are also available:

These books are both freely available online.

The data sets used in this book

Almost every data set used in this book is a real data set. Many are available electronically so that you can download them and work with them in statistical software. These are listed in Appendix A. Some data sets are taken from Gordon K. Smyth.1

Statistical software

Most of this book can be read without relying on any specific statistical software. However, some parts explicitly mention and refer to jamovi2 and/or SPSS.3 jamovi is free and is like (but not exactly the same as) SPSS. From the jamovi homepage (sic):

jamovi is a new '3rd generation' statistical spreadsheet. designed from the ground up to be easy to use, jamovi is a compelling alternative to costly statistical products such as SPSS and SAS.

--- https://www.jamovi.org/

How to use this online book

  • Navigation: Navigate between pages depends on the size of your screen. On wider screens:

    • The left-side menu is for navigating between chapters.
    • The right-side menu is for navigating between the sections of the current chapter.
  • Words can be searched for using Search button on the menu:

The book is optimised for online viewing, and the book may be updated frequently, so a printed PDF version may not be the most recent version.

In some places, interactive 'quiz' questions are given. In the online version, the background turns from red to green when the answer is correct. Try it now:

  1. What is \(1+1\)?
  2. What is \(1+2\)?
  3. Is \(2 + 2 = 4\)?
  4. Which one of these is FALSE?

Progress:

Icons used on this book

The icons used in this book have meanings; for example:

These chunks introduce the objectives for the chapters of the book.

These chunks highlight common mistakes or warnings, about a particular concept or about using a formula.

These chunks offer helpful information.

These chunks refer to text that is relevant to using software (jamovi or SPSS) or a calculator.

These chunks indicate how certain symbols and terms are pronounced.

These chunks give you some questions to think about.

Who can use this book?

This textbook is free for anyone to use: There is no charge for students, instructors or institutions.

Although it is not essential, an email to the author (explaining how the textbook is being used, who is using the textbook, and your thoughts on the textbook) would be appreciated: pdunn2 <at> usc.edu.au.

How this book was made

This book was made using R,4 and the bookdown package,5 which is based on Markdown syntax, using knitr.6

Numerous other R packages were used too:

  • The diagrams were made in base R, or using the diagram package.7
  • The animations in the html version were made using the animation package,8 and the stills for the PDF version captured by the webshot package.9
  • The gifski package was used to create animations in the online version.10
  • The kableExtra package was used for nicer tables.11
  • The maps of Australia were generated using the oz package12 and plotted using the ggplot2 package.13
  • The display of some data tables in the online version use the DT package.14
  • Some plots use the plotrix package.15
  • The NHANES data is provided by the NHANES package.16
  • Some data are from the GLMsData package.17
  • The scales package is used to rescale data.18
  • The carousels in the online version (for example, Sect. 34.3) are made using the slickR package.19
  • The dygraphs package20 is used to make interactive graphs (for example, Sect. 12.7.4) for the online version.
  • The plotly package21 is used to make some interactive graphs (for example, in Sect. 12.2.3) for the online version.
  • The dplyr package is used in some data manipulations.22
  • The viridis package is used for some colour specifications23 to make colours easier for those with colour-blindess to distinguish colours, and for better greyscale printing.
  • The webexercises package was used to create the interactive web exercises.24
  • The plotfunctions package was used to add images to existing plots25

All of this software is free and open source.

Other resources used include:

Special thanks to Dr Amanda Shaker (La Trobe University), who has advised of numerous issues (with the corrections).

Learning Outcomes

In this book, you will learn to:

  • Develop quantitative research questions and testable hypotheses.
  • Design quantitative studies to answer simple quantitative research questions.
  • Select and produce appropriate graphical, numerical and statistical analyses.
  • Select, apply and interpret the results of the correct statistical technique to analyse data.
  • Comprehend, apply and communicate in the language of research and statistics.
  • Demonstrate professional integrity in planning, interpreting and reporting the results of quantitative studies.

How to cite this book

Peter K. Dunn (2022). Scientific Research and Methodology: An introduction to quantitative research in science and health. https://bookdown.org/pkaldunn/SRM-Textbook

The CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence is applied to this textbook.