Quantitative Testing

Scalable image

The picture shows a group of people having a meal.

You could ask 'Is it nice?' but each answer will only be an opinion since 'nice' is hard to measure.

A better test would be to see if at least four of the seven people like the meal. The result can be measured and the answer will be a 'yes - at least four people liked it' or 'no - less than four people liked it'.

Asking 'Is it nice?' is a poor test. It can't be measured easily and is not 'quantatative'.

Finding out if at least four of the seven liked the meal can be measured. It is a quantitative test.

Good quantitative objectives

Unit Objective Why
Multimedia Sound of a football crowd plays when slide 3 loads You can either hear or not hear the sound
Multimedia Text on slide 5 is big enough to be read from the back of the room A test subject can either read it aloud easily or has difficulty in reading it
Spreadsheets The spreadsheet can be used to predict the future electricity costs of running the monitor It works out the costs or fails to do so. Easy to measure.
Word processing Mail merging will produce fewer errors than typing each letter seperately Do both and see which produces the fewest errors.
Web publication It will take less than five minutes to update a price on the website This can be easily measured.
Database A single record can be found in less than 20 seconds You can easily measure this.

Bad quantitative objectives

Unit Objective Why
Multimedia Slide 4 looks cool How do you decide if it is or not? What one person says is 'cool' another person may disagree about
Multimedia It's easy to find your way around This is not precise enough. It needs a better objective such as "You can easily get back from slide 7 to the start by clicking the 'home' button"
Spreadsheets It works things out easily Vague statement. You need a more precise test like 'The spreadsheet will save time when working out weekly wages'
Web publication It is quick to find Exactly what do you mean? Some people may never find it.
Database Easy to search Too vague a test. You must say what you are searching for and test this with several people.


Self dicipline is the ability to do what you should do, when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not. - Elbert Hubbard, philosopher and writer.
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