What Is Correlational Research? Get Complete Understanding

Correlational Research
Correlational research can be best described as a type of nonexperimental research in which the researcher measures two variables and evaluate the statistical relationship also known as the correlation, between them with little or no effort to control extraneous variables. There are essentially two reasons that make researchers interested in statistical relationships between variables would choose to conduct a correlational study rather than an experiment. Firstly, is that they do not believe that the statistical relationship is a causal one.

For example, a researcher of a dissertation writing service might evaluate the validity of a brief extraversion test by administering it to a large group of participants along with a longer extraversion test that has already been shown to be valid. This researcher might then check to see whether participants’ scores on the brief test are strongly correlated with their scores on the longer one. Neither test score is thought to cause the other, so there is no independent variable to manipulate. The terms independent variable and dependent variable do not apply to this kind of research.

Secondly, researchers would choose to use a correlational study rather than an experiment is that the statistical relationship of interest is thought to be causal, but the researcher cannot manipulate the independent variable because it is impossible, impractical, or unethical. As they cannot manipulate the independent variable, they will have to settle for whatever information they have.

There are times when researchers are unable to grasp the concept correctly; they believe that correlational research must involve two quantitative variables, such as scores on two extroversion tests or the number of hassles and number of symptoms people have experienced. The defining feature of correlational research is that the two variables are measured, neither one is manipulated and this is true regardless of whether the variables are quantitative or categorical.

How Correlational Research Is Conducted:

There are many different ways with help of which correlation research can be conducted. To test their hypothesis, the researchers will have to statistically analyze quantities data as correlations can be weak or strong. The most common data collection methods for this type of research include surveys, observations, and secondary data. Academic research often combines various methods which makes it necessary for researchers to carefully choose and plan their methods so that they can obtain reliable and valid results.


Surveys and questionnaires are a simple and effective way to research the relationship between variables. Surveys can be conducted online, through mail as well as by phone, and by meeting the subject. Researchers can ask questions related to the variables they are interested in and statistically analyze the responses. The good thing about surveys and questionnaires is that they are quick and flexible but the downside is that the responses are not always honest or accurate.

Naturalistic Observation:

It is a type of field research where the researchers will gather data about behavior or phenomenon in its natural environment without interrupting the process. This method involves recording, counting, describing, and categorizing actions and events. Naturalistic observation can include both qualitative and quantitative elements, but to find a correlation, you focus on data that can be analyzed quantitatively such as frequencies, durations, scales, and amounts. To find out correlation, the researcher will have to observe the subject’s contributions and categorize them on basis of various standards.

Secondary Data:

Researchers can conduct correlation research by using data that has already been collected by researchers and investigators before them instead of conducting new research every time. Data that is collected for various purposes such as official reports, polls, or previous studies can be used for their study. This way they can get access to large amounts of data to observe changes over time and space and look forward to comparing the variables.

Researchers need to understand that correlation does not imply causation. Even if they find a relation between two things, this does not mean that one of them is causing the other or leading to it. On the other hand, with a large amount of carefully collected and analyzed data, researchers can support a causal hypothesis. Sometimes, there is so much data and correlation evidence that a causal relationship is accepted by the scientists.

It is essential to know that correlational research is not defined by where or how the data or details are collected. However, some approaches to data collection are strongly associated with correlational research that includes naturalistic observation in which researchers observe people’s behavior in the context in which it normally occurs and the use of archival data that was already collected for some other purpose.

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