The correlational study refers to the form of non-experimental research technique. In this type of study, the student deals with two variables to understand and evaluate the statistical relation between them. The other variables do not influence the two variables under examination.
The human mind is capable of performing brilliant functions. For instance, the mind can memorize the jingle of the ice-cream seller. If the jingle is louder, it means the ice-cream seller is approaching to us. No one taught us this thing.
We used our understanding and concluded. Our memory is not limited to one type of jingle. If there are several ice-cream sellers with various jingle tones, our mind is still capable of memorizing them. This is the concept of a correlational study.
A researcher establishes a relationship between two variables, “jingle-tone” and “distance of the vehicle.” In this context, a correlational study is searching for the variables that are likely to interact with one another. When you see that one variable is changing, you get an idea as to how the other variable is going to change.
Correlational Study Example
The correlation coefficient shows the correlation between the two variables. The correlation coefficient is a statistical measure, which calculates the power of the relation between two variables. The measurement comes between -1 and +1.
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The time when the correlation coefficient is near +1, the correlation comes out as positive. On the other hand, if the value is near -1, then the correlation is negative. The value close to zero indicates that there is no relation between the variables.
Following example will help students to get an insight into the correlational study.
Consider a hypothetical situation, and a researcher is researching the correlation between cancer and marriage. The two variables in this research are cancer and marriage.
For instance, marriage correlates negatively with cancer. This suggests that the likelihood to develop cancer for married individuals is less. Nevertheless, it does not necessarily mean that marriage is a way to avoid cancer.
In the correlational study, establishing a fact is not possible. The research does not determine as to what is the cause of a particular thing. There is a misconception that correlational research includes two quantitative variables.
The two variables are measurable, and none of the changes. So, the variables of the correlational study are independent to bring quantitative or definite.
Correlational Study Types
In effect, there are three types of the correlational study identified by the researchers.
The correlation between the two variables is positive if the increase in one variable causes an addition to the other variable. Likewise, if there is a decrease in one variable, the other one also decreases. For instance, the income of an individual may positively correlate with the number of dresses she has.
The negative correlation is the opposite of positive correlation. It indicates, in case of an increase in one variable, the other decreases and vice versa. For instance, a higher number of educated people may negatively correlate with criminal activities.
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In this case, the increase in several educated people leads to less crimes. This does not necessarily mean that lack of education is the reason behind the crime rate at a particular place. There is a hypothesis, which suggests that a lack of education and criminal activities share a common reason, i.e. poverty.
This is the third type of correlation. In this type, there is no correlation between the two variables. This indicates that if one variable changes, it might not make any impact on the other variable.
For instance, being a billionaire and happiness do not correlate with one another. In other words, the increase or decrease in wealth does not cause happiness.
Data Collection Process in Correlational Study
The distinguishing feature of the correlational study is that researchers cannot manipulate any of the variables. It is not essential that where or how the researcher measures the variable. The important thing is that researcher can observe members/participants in public settings or a closed environment.
Two types of data collection methods are in use to collect the information in a correlational study.
Naturalistic observation is a process of data collection in which researchers observe individuals’ behaviour in the natural setting, where they generally exist. This approach is a form of “field research. ““`This suggests that a researcher may observe several people’s behaviour in a grocery store, at a playground, cinema, shopping malls, football stadiums and other such places.
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Generally, the researchers who conduct this type of data collection method, they make observations modestly by maintaining a low key. One might say that researchers make observation quietly.
The researchers do want the participants to know that someone is observing them else they would not act natural. The objective is to `observe people’s behaviour naturally.
From an ethical perspective, this approach is acceptable as long as the researcher does not reveal the information of participants. This is also acceptable when the researcher “““““`conducts the research in a public environment where people get to see each other as they deal with the public.
For example, it is okay to observe people in a grocery store when they collect items from the shelves and place them in their bags. There is no ethical issue in this type of data collection, as people are out in public. No one is observing their private lives at their homes. This method of data collection can be quantitative or qualitative.
This is another approach to correlational data. Archival data refers to the information that some researcher has previously gathered by conducting more ore less the same type of research. The archival data is available through primary research.
The information obtained through archived data might be straightforward. For example, they are keeping a record of the number of people named Michael in different regions of Florida. The information based on social security records is straightforward.
The correlational study is non-experimental research, which involves two variables. The researchers evaluate the statistical relationship between the two variables.