Since the establishment of psychology as an academic discipline, a number of specific areas of study have developed in the broader subject. Among these is Quantitative and Measurement Psychology, which may be defined as the study of how psychological phenomena can and should be measured. Quantitative Psychology, also known as Psychological Measurement or Psychometrics, bases its methodology upon the statistical analysis of psychological data. And the basis of statistical analysis is mathematics.
Why Quantitative Psychology is Important
All sciences depend upon the accurate analysis of data in order to derive results that are verifiable. As one of the social sciences, psychology is no exception to this rule. For every experiment involving the collection and study of psychological data, an appropriate method of analysis must be developed. That’s the job of the quantitative and measurement psychologist. The quantitative psychologist can design measurement tools that are reliable and accurate; these may include various kinds of tests and studies that can be shown to produce solid results. The quantitative psychologist can help develop and focus a proposed research project in such a way that it produces valid results able to be generalized for a larger population, according to the American Psychological Association.
A well-known example of the kind of methodology developed by quantitative psychologists for the use of other researchers is the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and the tests designed to measure it. The information acquired by psychologists through IQ testing has been applied in a number of areas outside psychology, including education, health and medicine, and criminal justice.
Training in Quantitative and Measurement Psychology
Since mathematics is the foundation of all statistical analysis, quantitative psychologists must have ample training in this field. While all advanced education in psychology requires some training in statistics, for the quantitative psychologist the mathematical focus is vital and profound. Hence the PhD is considered the optimal degree for this field. There are several dozen universities in North America that offer specific PhD degrees in Quantitative Psychology, which is also called Psychometrics or Psychometric Methodology; a number of others offer advanced work in Quantitative Psychology along with a substantial study in other areas of Psychology.
Careers in Quantitative Psychology
The American Psychological Association has stated in no uncertain terms that there is a serious need for quantitative psychologists. As older members of the profession retire, fewer qualified young people are available to take their places. There are job opportunities for them not only in academic circles as research professors, but also in private industry. In educational assessment, for example, the creation of standardized tests requires the input of quantitative psychologists. Given their extensive training in mathematics and statistics, however, quantitative psychologists can easily move into careers in business and governmental agencies, where psychological measurement and statistical assessment are necessary procedures.
Related Resource: Biopsychology
Since Quantitative and Measurement Psychology forms the basis of all legitimate psychological methodology, its practitioners are going to be in high demand. And because research in this field is universally recognized as important, it is well funded and supported by governmental and academic agencies. For the present, the demand for qualified quantitative and measurement psychologists in public and private sectors alike is almost constant.