The Purpose of Correlational Studies:
Correlational studies are used to look for relationships between variables. There are three possible results of a correlational study: a positive correlation, a negative correlation, and no correlation. The correlation coefficient is a measure of correlation strength and can range from –1.00 to +1.00.
* Positive Correlations: Both variables increase or decrease at the same time. A correlation coefficient close to +1.00 indicates a strong positive correlation.
* Negative Correlations: Indicates that as the amount of one variable increases, the other decreases (and vice versa). A correlation coefficient close to -1.00 indicates a strong negative correlation.
* No Correlation: Indicates no relationship between the two variables. A correlation coefficient of 0 indicates no correlation.
Limitations of Correlational Studies:
While correlational studies can suggest that there is a relationship between two variables, they cannot prove that one variable causes a change in another variable. In other words, correlation does not equal causation. For example, a correlational study might suggest that there is a relationship between academic success and self-esteem, but it cannot show if academic success increases or decreases self-esteem. Other variables might play a role, including social relationships, cognitive abilities, personality, socio-economic status, and a myriad of other factors.
Types of Correlational Studies:
1. Naturalistic Observation
Naturalistic observation involves observing and recording the variables of interest in the natural environment without interference or manipulation by the experimenter.
Advantages of Naturalistic Observation:
* Gives the experimenter the opportunity to view the variable of interest in a natural setting.
* Can offer ideas for further research.
* May be the only option if lab experimentation is not possible.
Disadvantages of Naturalistic Observation: