Correlational Studies

Correlational Studies

In this brief article, we’ll describe “Correlational Studies”, how correlational studies work, types of correlational research, some uses of correlation, correlation coefficients, differences between experiments and correlations and strengths and limitations of correlation.

CORRELATIONAL STUDIES:

Correlational studies are a type of research that is often seen being used in psychological studies and experiments. It has been used as a preliminary way to gather information about a topic or in situations where it’s not possible to conduct an experiment.

What does a Correlation mean?

A correlation means a relationship between two variables. It can be strong or weak, & positive or negative, and in some cases, there might be no correlation as well between the variables.

Correlational Studies

HOW CORRELATIONAL STUDIES WORK:

Correlational studies are a type of research which is always used as a preliminary way to gather information about a topic or in situations where conducting an experiment is not possible, it is often used in the field of psychology. The correlational method refers to looking at the relationships between two or more variables, the researchers can use correlations to see if a relationship exists and the variables themselves are not under the control of the researches.

Another important thing is that while correlational research can tell if there is a relationship between two or more variables, these researches can’t prove that changes to one variable have led by changes to another variable. In simpler words, correlational studies cannot prove cause-and-effect relationships and it has it’s own strengths and weaknesses, therefore, it’s important to determine which research method is best for a particular situation.

There are three possible results of a correlational study:

  • A positive correlation:

It refers to the relationship between two variables in which both the variables either increase or decrease at the same time. An example of a positive correlation would be height and weight.

  • A Negative Correlation:

It refers to a relationship between two variables in which there is an increase in one variable while the other variable decreases. An example would be, as we climb on the mountains, which are said to increase in height, the temperature falls down and becomes colder. 

  • A zero correlation:

When there is no correlation between two variables, it is said to be no correlation. For example, there is no relationship between the number of potatoes in the market and the level of intelligence.

Scatter Diagram:

In order to express a correlation visually, this is done by drawing a scatter diagram. It refers to the plot of one variable against the other on a graph. When one draws a scatter diagram or scattergram, it doesn’t matter which variable is supposed to be on the x-axis and which is supposed to be on the y-axis. The values of the two variables are taken together in a scattergram as we deal with paired scores. One needs to just decide which variable goes on each axis and then simply put across at the point where the values coincide.

Correlational Studies

TYPES OF CORRELATIONAL RESEARCH:

There are three types of correlational researches and they are:

  1. Naturalistic Observation:

This type of research method refers to observing and recording the variables of interest in the natural environment without any interference or manipulation by the experimenter. 

  1. The Survey Method:

This type of method refers to the conduction of surveys and questionnaires, which is one of the most common methods used in psychological researches. To conduct this research, a random sample of participants are usually drawn and completes the survey, or questionnaire that relates variables of interest. Random sampling is a vital part of ensuring the generalizability of the survey results.

  1. Archival Research:

This type of research method is performed by analyzing studies conducted by other researchers or by looking at historical patient records. For example, the researchers analyzed the records of the soldiers who served in the Civil War to learn more about PTSD in an experiment known as “The Irritable Heart”.

Correlational Studies

SOME USES OF CORRELATIONS:

Here are some uses of correlations and those are;

  • Prediction:

If there is a relationship between two variables, correlation can make predictions about one another.

  • Validity:

The use of correlation is to find concurrent validity is also popular (correlation between a new measure and an established measure).

  • Reliability:

Correlation method was used to conduct test-retest reliability (as it measures consistency) and inter-rater reliability (as it observes consistency)

Correlational Studies

CORRELATION COEFFICIENTS:

If a person doesn’t want to draw a scattergram, a correlation can also be expressed numerically as a coefficient, ranging from -1 to +1. When working with continuous variables, the correlation coefficient to use is Pearson’s r.

The correlation coefficient (r) refers to the extent to which the pairs of numbers for the two variables lie on a straight line. Values over zero suggest a positive correlation and values below or under zero suggest a negative correlation.

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN EXPERIMENTS AND CORRELATIONS:

An experiment controls the environment and isolates and manipulates the independent variable in order to observe its effect on the dependent variable. Experiments establish a cause and effect relationship.

A correlation finds variables and looks for a relationship between them. A correlation doesn’t establish cause and effect relationships rather look for a relationship between the two variables.

Correlational Studies

STRENGTHS OF CORRELATIONS:

  • It allows the researcher to find the relationship between the naturally occurring variables that may be unethical or impractical to test experimentally. For example, it would be unethical to conduct an experiment on whether malnutrition causes low IQ.
  • It allows the researcher to easily see if there is a relationship between the variables. This can then later be displayed in a graphical form.

LIMITATIONS OF CORRELATIONS:

  • Correlation cannot be taken to imply causation, even if there is a very strong association between the two variables, one cannot assume that one variable causes the another
  • Correlation does not allow one to go beyond the data that is given, a person has to work with the given data only.
Correlational Studies

CONCLUSION:

In this blog, we’ve described “Correlational Studies”, how correlational studies work, types of correlational research, some uses of correlation, correlation coefficients, differences between experiments and correlations and strengths and limitations of correlation. Please feel free to leave a comment and suggestion, we appreciate your time.

CITATIONS:

simplypsychology.org

verywellmind.com

Correlational Studies

Nadejda Romanciuc

Nadejda Romanciuc holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a diploma in Addiction studies. She is part of the Romanian Association of Integrative Psychotherapy as a psychotherapist under supervision. She's practicing online counselling for over two years and is a strong advocate for mental health.