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Quantitative Methods in Education Research

2. Comparing Frequencies and Percentages

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about frequency counts and their importance by looking at data on Free School Meal (FSM) eligibility and how it can be used to identify patterns of deprivation in education, focusing in particular on: (i) how frequency counts are put together; (ii) the usefulness of FSM data for education researchers; (iii) an example of comparing frequencies between pupils who are FSM-eligible, not FSM-eligible, and whose FSM status is unknown, in which we identify a super-deprived group in education; (iv) how missing data should be handled by researchers.


In this course, Professor Stephen Gorard (Durham University) explores the use of numerical data in education research. In the first lecture, we think about why numbers are important in sociology and whether the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research is useful. In the second lecture, we look at comparing frequencies between groups. In the third lecture, we look at identifying differences between groups – with examples from education research. Next, we examine the concepts of correlation and causation by exploring the relationship between Free School Meal eligibility and attainment in school exams. In the fifth and final lecture, we put these different methods together to discuss more broadly the unfairness of life chances.


Professor Stephen Gorard is Professor of Education and Public Policy and Director of the Evidence Centre for Education at Durham University. He has written very widely on educational inequalities, education policy, and research methods. His recent publications include How to Make Sense of Statistics (2021), How Can We Get Educators to Use Research Evidence? (2019, co-author), and Education Policy: Evidence of Equity and Effectiveness (2018).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gorard, S. (2021, September 30). Quantitative Methods in Education Research - Comparing Frequencies and Percentages [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gorard, S. "Quantitative Methods in Education Research – Comparing Frequencies and Percentages." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 30 Sep 2021,

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