As statistics indicate that the number of psychologists trained in all aspects of quantitative research methods is dwindling quickly, there is an increased need for graduate students to consider enrolling in a degree program for quantitative psychology.
According to the APA, quantitative psychologists are involved in the study of the statistical and mathematical modeling of psychological processes and human attributes. This specialized branch is often referred to as mathematical psychology because it deals with the evaluation, measurement, and research design of studies related to psychological data. Quantitative methods are essential to develop new and evaluate existing methodologies to support the works of nearly every area within psychology. Below we will take a closer look at what psychologists specializing in quantitative methods bring to the scientific study of the human mind and behavior.
What Quantitative Psychologists Do
Quantitative psychologists are highly trained in mathematical and statistical methods to bridge the gap between theoretical psychometricians and educational researchers. Most quantitative psychologists conduct their own research related to statistics, act as consultants to the world of academia, and/or teach research methods to the newest generation of psychologists. Depending on their individual interests, quantitative psychologists may use their skills to study the measurement of personality traits, attitudes, abilities, knowledge, learning, and more. The field typically calls upon these psychologists to apply quantitative methods to designing tests, questionnaires, surveys, and other measurements for various forms of psychological research.
Where Quantitative Psychologists Work
Since they are well-versed in statistical methods of research analysis, quantitative psychologists can work in a wide variety of settings and in a range of psychological fields. Many work as faculty members on university campuses to share their infinite wisdom on quasi-experimental design, propensity score analysis, psychometric theory, structural equation modeling, statistics, and the like. Another large group of quantitative psychologists find employment in conducting research for hospitals, research firms, government agencies, and private practices. Some will also use their background in quantitative methods to create statistically significant research findings related to child psychology, clinical psychology, health psychology, cognitive psychology, and other distinct branches.
How to Become a Quantitative Psychologist
Once you've determined that becoming a quantitative psychologist is the right fit, start filling your undergraduate transcript with courses in linear algebra, probability, calculus, statistics, biostatics, and other relevant areas of mathematics. Showing evidence of solid performance in mathematics is essential for gaining admissions into a Ph.D. degree program in quantitative psychology. Though it's not an overly popular field, there are around 30 programs across the United States that offer concentrations for doctoral students in quantitative or mathematical psychology. In the program, you can expect to obtain valuable data-intensive research experience in the thesis and dissertation project. Attending national conferences, participating in workshops related to quantitative methods, and publishing your research are other helpful ways to jump-start a career as a quantitative psychologist.
Overall, quantitative psychologists are the bright mathematical minds that specialize in measurement methodology and research analysis to carefully examine data relevant to the social sciences. Quantitative psychologists have unique skills sets that enable them to bring their knowledge to both theoretical and applied problems in various psychological fields. If you're interested in studying quantitative psychology, you'll discover that there is a positive job outlook in which career opportunities will continue to grow.