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Correlational Research

- Correlational research is a type of non-experimental research method, in which a


researcher measures two variables, understands and assess the statistical
relationship between them with no influence from any extraneous variable.
- The correlation between two variables is shown through correlation coefficient (A
correlation coefficient is a statistical measure that calculates the strength of the
relationship between two variables), that is a value measured between -1 and +1.
When the correlation coefficient is close to +1 then there is a positive correlation
between the two variables and the value is close to -1, then there is a negative
correlation between the two variables and when the value is close to zero then
there is no relationship between the two variables.

For example,….

- Consider hypothetically, a researcher is studying a correlation between cancer


and marriage. In this study, there are two variables: cancer and marriage. Let us
say marriage has a negative correlation with cancer. This means that people who
are married are less likely to develop cancer.
- However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that marriage directly avoids cancer. In
correlational research, it is not possible to establish the fact, what causes what.

Types of Correlational Research:

1. Positive correlation: A positive correlation between two variables is when an


increase in one variable leads to an increase in the other variable and a decrease in
one variable will see a decrease in the other variable. For example, the amount of
money a person has might positively correlate with the number of cars he has.

2. Negative correlation: A negative correlation is quite literally the opposite of


positive correlation. This means, if there is an increase in one variable, the second
variable will show a decrease and vice versa.

For example, the level of being educated might negatively correlate with the crime rate
when an increase in one variable leads to a decrease in another and vice versa. This
means if in some ways the level of education in a country is improved, it can lead to
lowering the crime rates. Please note, that this doesn’t mean that lack of education
leads to crimes. This means lack of education and crime is believed to have a common
reason: poverty.

3. No correlation: In this third type, two variables are not correlated. This means a
change in one variable may not necessarily see a change in the other variable. For
example, being a millionaire and happiness is not correlated. This means an increase in
money doesn’t lead to happiness.

Data Collection and Methods:

- Naturalistic Observation: Naturalistic observation is a way of data collection


in which people’s behavior is observed in their natural environment, in which they
typically exist. This method is a type of field research. It could mean a researcher
might be observing people in a grocery store, at the cinema, playground or
similar places.

- Archival Data: Another approach to correlational data is the use of archival


data. Archival data is the data that has been previously collected by doing similar
kind of research. Archival data is usually made available through primary
research.

Descriptive Research
- Descriptive research is defined as a research method that describes the
characteristics of the population or phenomenon that is being studied. This
methodology focuses more on the “what” of the research subject rather than the
“why” of the research subject.

For example, …

- an apparel brand that wants to understand the fashion purchasing trends among
New York buyers will conduct a demographic survey of this region,
gather population data and then conduct descriptive research on this
demographic segment. The research will then uncover details on “what is the
purchasing pattern of New York buyers”, but not cover any investigative details
on “why” the patterns exits. Because for the apparel brand trying to break into
this market, understanding the nature of their market is the objective of the study.

Characteristics of Descriptive Research


1. Quantitative research: Descriptive research is a quantitative research method
that attempts to collect quantifiable information to be used for statistical analysis of
the population sample. It is an popular market research tool that allows to collect and
describe the nature of the demographic segment.
2. Uncontrolled variables: In descriptive research, none of the variables are
influenced in any way. This uses observational methods to conduct the research.
Hence, the nature of the variables or their behavior is not in the hands of the
researcher.
3. Cross-sectional studies: Descriptive research is generally a cross-sectional
study where different sections belonging to the same group are studied.
4. Basis for further research: The data collected and analyzed from descriptive
research can then be further researched using different research techniques. The
data also can help point towards the types of research methods are to be used for the
subsequent research.

Data Collection and Methods


- Observational Method
The observational method is the most effective method to conduct descriptive research
and both quantitative observation and qualitative observation are used in this research
method.

Quantitative observation is the objective collection of data, which is primarily focused on


numbers and values, it suggests “associated to, of or depicted in terms of a quantity”.
Results of quantitative observation are derived using statistical and numerical analysis
methods.

Qualitative observation doesn’t involve measurements or numbers but instead just


monitoring characteristics. In this case the researcher observes the respondents from a
distance. Since the respondents are in a comfortable environment, the characteristics
observed are natural and effective.

- Case Study Method


Case studies involve in-depth research and study of individuals or groups. Case studies
lead to a hypothesis and widen a further scope of studying a phenomenon. However,
case studies should not be used to determine cause and effect as they don’t have the
capacity to make accurate predictions because there could be a bias on the part of the
researcher.

- Survey Research
In survey research, respondents answer through surveys or questionnaires, or polls.
They are a popular market research tool to collect feedback from respondents. In order
for a survey to gather good quality data, it should have good survey questions, which
should be a balanced mix of open-ended questions and close ended-questions.