5 Quantitative Research Ideas for Your Dissertation 

Though initially seems easy, selecting a good research topic for your dissertation can become challenging, especially if you haven’t thought of it enough. That’s why we carefully crafted a set of five quantitative research ideas to guide you through the process, ensuring you find a topic that not only echoes your interests but also adds a valuable contribution to your field of study.

Each research idea covers everything you need, from formulating the primary research question and hypotheses to methodology, types of variables, data analysis, and results interpretation.

Also, note that we classify our research ideas in order of complexity: the first example is the easiest, and each one gets a bit more complex after that. 

Please keep in mind that all research ideas explained next use stratified sampling, so refer to our article in the link if you want to find out how that works. 

Idea 1: Investigate How Sleep Quality Affects Academic Performance

In this first research idea, we will examine the direct connection between sleep quality and academic performance. Sleep is something we tend to neglect when we are students and previous studies have shown that a lack of it can really have an impact on focus and information retention.

Research Question

Before plunging into more details let’s formulate the primary research question we aim to answer in this study:

How does sleep quality influence academic performance among college students?


Based on our research question above, we can derive the following research hypotheses:

H1: Better sleep quality is associated with improved academic performance.

H2: Regular sleep schedules lead to higher grades than inconsistent ones.

Research Variables

We are going to use two variables for this study as follows: 

  1. Independent Variable (X): Sleep quality – measured by the duration, latency, efficiency, and sleep disturbances.
  2. Dependent Variable (Y): Academic performance – measured by GPA and exam scores.
Path diagram research idea 1 (two variables). Source: uedufy.com


Here’s how we plan to gather and analyze our data to find the answers we need:

  • Population and Sample Size: We propose a sample size of 300 respondents. This will be sufficient to ensure our sample is diverse as well as large enough to avoid false negatives (type 2 errors). 
  • Research Instruments: In this study we will use a questionnaire consisting of questions designed to measure the following variables: 
  1. Sleep Quality: We’ll use the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), which assesses sleep over the past month with a Likert scale from 0 to 3 for different sleep aspects.
  2. Academic Performance: A questionnaire will gather data on GPA and exam results, plus students’ perceptions of factors influencing their grades.
  • Data Collection Procedure: Send your questionnaire to your respondents twice per semester – once at the start of the semester and another time towards the end. The academic performance results will be collected once the semester is over from the university (where available) or self-reported by students. 
  • Ethical Considerations: Before starting the survey, participants will sign an informed consent form. In this document you should clearly describe the purpose of the study, participant’s rights, and how they can withdraw at any time.

Data Analysis 

Use a statistical tool such as SPSS or R and perform the following analysis:

  1. Descriptive Statistics: Summarize the data, noting means, standard deviations, and ranges.
  2. Correlation Analysis: Assess the relationship between sleep quality and academic performance using Pearson correlation.
  3. Regression Analysis: Use simple linear regression to see how much sleep quality predicts academic performance.
  • Expected results: We anticipate strong links between good sleep and better grades, as already shown in various previous studies. Here are the key metrics to look out for:
Pearson Correlationr = 0.XXShows the strength and direction of the link between sleep quality and grades.
P-valuep = 0.XXXIndicates if our findings are statistically solid; below 0.05 suggests they are.
R-squared (R²)R² = 0.XXTells how much of the variance in grades is explained by sleep quality.
Research example 3: Key statistics metrics. X = actual values

Results Interpretation

In the Discussion section of your dissertation, you should cover the following aspects: 

Start by summarizing the main findings – explore how sleep quality impacts academic performance. Discuss the significance of your results, highlighting how improved sleep could lead to better academic results.

Talk about how your findings can help improve the present practices and policies. For example, you can mention how schools might bring awareness about importance of quality sleep and its impact on academic performance. 

Compare your results with existing research. This is important as it shows how your study aligns with or differs from previous work.

Every study has limitations, make sure you mention yours. You can talk about the reliance on self-reported data for sleep and academic performance. Suggest future research which can help further investigate the relationship between sleep quality and academic success, possibly by including additional variables or using longitudinal designs.

Idea 2: The Influence of Study Habits and Social Media Use on Academic Performance

This second research idea is slightly more difficult than the first. This time we will focus on how students manage their time between studying and scrolling through social media. Isn’t it fascinating to see what impacts their grades more?

Research Question

Before we dip into the specifics, let’s set the stage with our guiding research question:

What is the combined effect of study habits and social media use on students’ academic performance?


We will formulate the following two hypotheses:

H1: Strong study habits are tied to better academic results. 

H2: High social media usage tends to lower academic performance. 

Research Variables

In this study we will use three variables – two predictors and one outcome variable as follows:

Independent Variables (X): 

  1. Study Habits – measuring how often and effectively students study.
  2. Social Media Use – measuring the amount of time participants spend on social media platforms.
Path diagram research idea 2 (three variables). Source: uedufy.com

Dependent Variable (Y): 

  1. Academic Performance –  measuring the student’s GPA and exam scores.


Let’s outline how we will collect the data we need:

  • Population and Sample Size: We plan to involve around 400 respondents, respectively, students from different faculties in your university.
  • Research Instruments: We will use a questionnaire structured in three sections – a section per variable as follows:
  1. Study Habits: questions about how students plan and execute their study sessions (hours, time of the day, etc.). 
  2. Social Media Use: questions investigating the behavior of using social media (how often per day, hours spent, etc.).
  3. Academic Performance: grades will be collected from GPA/exams from the university (where available) or self-reported by respondents.
  • Data Collection Procedure: Surveys will be sent twice: early in the semester and again at the end when GPA scores or exam results are available.
  • Ethical Considerations: Prepare an informed consent form document that includes a clear description of your study. Mention that all data is to be kept private and that participants have the right to quit the study at any point in time. You will send this document to be signed before starting to collect data.

Data Analysis

Using statistical tools like SPSS or R, we will conduct the following analyses: 

  1. Descriptive Statistics: First up, let’s summarize our findings. What’s the average study time? How does it compare to social media use?
  2. Moderation Analysis: Now, we’ll see if study habits change the impact of social media on grades. Are students who study more resistant to the distractions of social media?

Follow our Multiple Linear Regression Using SPSS guide to analyze your data quickly and efficiently.

  • Expected Results: We assume that study habits will make a big impact on academic performance, especially for students tending to spend longer time on social media. Here are the main values we need to observe in our data analysis: 
Interaction of Study Habits and Social Mediaβ = 0.XXShows if strong study habits can lessen the negative impact of social media on the academic results.
P-valuep = 0.XXXTells us if our results are reliable; below 0.05 means they are significant.
R-squared (R²)R² = 0.XXExplains how much of the variation in grades is due to our examined factors.
Research example 2: Key statistics metrics. X = actual values

Results Interpretation

In the Discussion section of your paper, begin by outlining the key findings from the study: how study habits and social media use together shape academic outcomes. Talk about the balance and its implications for students’ daily routines and overall success in school.

Explore the nuances of your results, especially how effective study habits might mitigate the negative effects of social media. Delve into the idea that not all social media use is detrimental, and some students might manage to blend it effectively with their study routines.

Compare your insights with prior research to place your findings in a broader context. Highlight any areas where your results diverge from common expectations and discuss potential reasons for these differences.

Lastly, acknowledge any limitations of your research, such as the reliance on self-reported data, which could introduce bias. Suggest directions for future studies, perhaps focusing on longitudinal approaches or exploring different demographic groups to see if these trends hold universally.

Idea 3: Exploring How Study Environment and Time Spent Studying Affect Grades with Additional Insights

This third idea in our series digs a bit deeper by weaving in control variables to refine our understanding. Here, we’re not just looking at how the study environment and the hours poured into studying sway academic results. We’re also considering other elements that could tilt the scales, like a student’s major and their past academic successes.

Research Question

As every student knows, where and how long you hit the books can make a big difference. But what’s the real story behind these effects? Our key question is:

How do the study environment and the time dedicated to studying shape academic success, especially when we factor in other influences?


To get a clearer picture, we’ve lined up a couple of educated guesses:

H1: A supportive study environment is likely to boost grades.

H2: More hours of studying should translate to better academic performance.

Research Variables

To unravel this, we will focus our study will contain the following five variables:

Independent Variables (X)

  1. Study Environment – looks at how conducive the place is for hitting the books.
  2. Time Spent Studying – measures the total hours dedicated to learning each week.

Dependent Variable (Y)

  1. Academic Performance – reflected in GPA and/or exam scores.

Control Variables (C):

  1. Student’s Major – aimed to see if the impact varies across different disciplines.
  2. Previous Academic Performance – measures the changes/impact fairly by accounting for the baseline academic level of each student.
Path diagram research idea 3 (control variables). Source: uedufy.com


Here’s how we plan to get to the bottom of these questions:

  • Population and Sample Size: We’re casting our net across various majors to capture a diverse mix of undergraduates. Aiming for about 500 participants through stratified sampling, we ensure our study is both broad and deep.
  • Research Instruments:
  1. Study Environment and Time Spent Studying: We will design a questionnaire with Likert scales to collect quantifiable data. Respondents will rate their study spots and log their weekly study hours.
  2. Academic Performance: You can use either self-reported grades or official records (or both combined) to capture the full picture of the respondent’s academic performance.
  • Data Collection Procedure: We will deploy our questionnaire as an online survey. This makes it easy for students to complete early and midway through the semester without dealing with many emails. Finally, we will collect the academic score at the end of the semester. 
  • Ethical Considerations: All respondents will be given an informed consent form before starting the survey. The consent form should contain clear details about the study, participant’s rights, and how data will remain private. Also, make sure you mention that they can step out of the study whenever feel like it. 

Data Analysis

Using a statistical analysis tool like SPSS or R, conduct the following: 

  1. Descriptive Statistics: A first look at the data to spot trends and outliers.
  2. Multiple Linear Regression with Control Variables: This lets us pinpoint how the study environment and study time impact grades, keeping an eye on the influence of a student’s major and prior performance.
  • Expected Results: We anticipate that both the quality of the study environment and the quantity of study time will be key players in boosting academic outcomes, even when other factors (control variables) are introduced. The table below contains the values you need to use for interpretation:
Regression Coefficient (Study Environment)β = 0.XXShows how the study environment sways academic performance.
Regression Coefficient (Time Spent Studying)β = 0.XXTells us the impact of study hours on grades.
P-valuep = 0.XXXHighlights if our findings are solidly backed by the data. Less than 0.05 means they probably are.
R-squared (R²)R² = 0.XXExplains how much of the grade variation our model accounts for.
Research example 3: Key statistics metrics. X = actual values

Results Interpretation

The Discussion chapter of your paper should start by presenting your main findings, like the effects of study environment and hours on grades while weighing the roles of the student’s major and prior scores. Then, continue to discuss what this means for educational strategies and how it might guide schools in shaping their support systems.

Link your findings to other studies (use references mentioned in your literature review), pointing out any surprises and their possible reasons. Wrap up by noting any study limits and suggesting future research paths to further explore these relationships.

Idea 4: Investigate How Mental Health Mediates the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Academic Success

In our fourth example, we look into how mental health might serve as the key link connecting physical activity with students’ academic achievements. We will use mediation analysis to uncover the deeper processes at play beneath these interconnected aspects of student life.

Research Question

While the benefits of physical activity are obvious, their impact on the academic results is still an open topic for researchers. Therefore we propose the following research question:

How does mental health mediate the impact of physical activity on academic success in college students?”


Let us start by proposing the following hypotheses:

H1: Regular physical activity has a significant impact on mental health.

H2: Enhanced mental health contributes to better academic performance.

Research Variables

In this study, we’re going to measure the following variables: 

  1. Independent Variable (X)

Physical Activity – aimed at capturing the frequency and intensity of physical exercise among students.

  1. Dependent Variable (Y): Academic Performance – determined by GPA and exam outcomes.
  2. Mediator Variable (M): Mental Health – assessed using established scales for stress, anxiety, and general well-being.
Path diagram research idea 4 (mediation analysis). Source: uedufy.com


Here’s the research methodology we will apply int his study:

  • Population and Sample Size: Our study spans a variety of majors and focuses on undergraduates who are actively engaged in or abstain from physical activities. A sample size of 400 respondents will be sufficient for this study. 
  • Research Instruments:
  1. Physical Activity: A detailed survey will quantify students’ exercise habits, asking about types of activities, duration, and intensity.
  2. Mental Health: We’ll use validated psychological scales to measure mental health indicators such as stress levels and emotional stability.
  3. Academic Performance: A blend of self-reported and official academic data will paint a full picture of student achievement.
  • Data Collection Procedure: Surveys will be shred online early in the semester and followed up as the term progresses. The academic performance will be collected at the end – this will make sure you capture the full impact of the semester’s activities. Your questionnaire should use Likert scales to measure both physical activity and mental health. This allows participants to rate their frequency and intensity of exercise, as well as their levels of stress, anxiety, and overall well-being, on a scale typically ranging from 1 (strongly disagree or never) to 5 (strongly agree or always).
  • Ethical Considerations: All respondents in this study should sign an informed consent form before filling the survey. This will consist of a clear overview of the study, their rights and that all answers will be kept private. Don’t forget to mention that a participant can leave the study at any time. 

Data Analysis

Using tools like SPSS or R, proceed to compute the following:

  1. Descriptive Statistics – this gives us a baseline view of our variables and any initial trends such as central tendency, variability, demographics, etc.
  2. Mediation Analysis – here, we will determine if mental health acts as a bridge, explaining how physical activity translates into academic success. This involves testing if the total effect of physical activity on academic performance is significantly carried through mental health.

Learn How To Run Mediation Analysis in SPSS using two easy-to-follow methods.

  • Expected Results: We expect to find that mental health is key to understanding how exercise influences academic performance. This could lead to schools creating better wellness programs – for instance. In terms of metrics, here are the main values you need to calculate for this research:
Effect of Physical Activity on Mental Healthβ = 0.XXIndicates how exercise influences mental well-being.
Effect of Mental Health on Academic Performanceβ = 0.XXShows the impact of mental health on grades.
Total Mediated Effectβ = 0.XXReflects the overall path from physical activity through mental health to academic performance.
P-valuep = 0.XXXValidates if the effects are supported by data; values under 0.05 suggest they are.
R-squared (R²)R² = 0.XXDetails how much of the change in academic performance our model explains.
Research example 4: Key statistics metrics. X = actual values

Results Interpretation

In the Discussion, analyze the nuances of how physical activity through mental health programs can enhance academic outcomes. Compare your findings with existing literature (use inline citations), especially studies that highlight similar or contrasting pathways. Address any surprises in the data. Propose ways this understanding could shape educational and health policies on campuses. Finally, mention the study limitations and advocate for further research to explore other potential mediators or related dynamics (i.e., sleep quality).

Idea 5: Understanding the Moderating Role of Study Skills in the Relationship Between Classroom Environment and Student Achievement

In this fifth research idea we will focus on how study skills might change the way a classroom environments affect student performance. We will use moderation analysis to help us understand if the impact varies among students with different levels of study skills.

Research Question

The environment of a classroom is important, but does that affect all students in the same way? Our investigation seeks to answer the following research question:

Do study skills moderate the effect of classroom environment on student achievement?


Based on our research title, we propose the following hypotheses:

H1: Positive classroom environments boost student achievement.

H2: This boost is stronger for students with advanced study skills.

Research Variables

Let’s break down the variables we propose in this study:

Independent Variable (X): Classroom Environment – assessing the quality and supportiveness of the learning space.

Dependent Variable (Y): Student Achievement – measured by grades and test scores.

Moderator Variable (Z): Study Skills – Evaluating how well students manage their learning, including time management and note-taking abilities.

Path diagram research idea 5 (moderation analysis). Source: uedufy.com


Here’s the methodology we plan to apply:

  • Population and Sample Size: We’ll involve about 450 respondents – students from different faculties. This diverse group ensures our findings are diverse enough and leads to insightful findings.
  • Research Instruments:

We will design a questionnaire with questions classified into two categories for (1) and (2) below. You can use Likert scale to measure the answer for each question. If you plan to collect (3) the grades via self-reporting, make sure you include this section in the questionnaire as well. 

  1. Classroom Environment: A survey will help us rate the environment’s qualities, from physical comfort to the inclusivity of discussions.
  2. Study Skills: Another survey will gauge students’ skills in organizing and absorbing information.
  3. Student Achievement: A combination of self-reports and official records will paint a complete picture of academic success.
  • Data Collection Procedure: As in the previous examples, we will send the surveys out early in the semester and again near the end. This timing allows us to measure changes and lasting impacts. 
  • Ethical Considerations: Prepare an informed consent form that clearly explains the purpose of your study. Explain that all data will be kept private and that the participant has the right to exit the study at will.

Data Analysis

Here’s our approach with tools like SPSS or R:

  1. Descriptive Statistics: First, we get a clear view of our basic data points.
  2. Moderation Analysis: We’ll explore if study skills influence how the classroom environment affects achievement. This step checks if the effect varies based on the level of study skills.

Learn How To Perform Moderation Analysis in SPSS in our step-by-step guide using two methods.

  • Expected Results: We think that students with better study skills will benefit more from a positive classroom environment. This finding could guide schools in tailoring support more effectively. The table below contains the values you should observe and their interpretation:
Effect of Classroom Environment on Achievementβ = 0.XXMeasures the base impact of environment on grades.
Interaction of Environment and Study Skillsβ = 0.XXShows how study skills alter this relationship.
P-valuep = 0.XXXConfirms if our insights hold up statistically; below 0.05 means they likely do.
R-squared (R²)R² = 0.XXTells how much of the achievement variation we explain with our model.
Research example 5: Key statistics metrics. X = actual values

Results Interpretation

In the Discussion chapter of your thesis, reflect on how varying study skills shape the benefits of classroom settings. Compare your findings to other research, noting new insights or unexpected trends. 

Think about how this can influence educational approaches, focusing on personalized learning. Mention any study limits and encourage more research to broaden our understanding of these dynamics.

Wrapping Up

In this article, we’ve explored five diverse quantitative research ideas designed to enhance your dissertation. Each idea is structured to provide a solid foundation for conducting thorough quantitative analysis. We used various research methodologies, incorporating control variables, and employing advanced statistical techniques such as moderation and mediation analyses.