Looking for Links: Descriptive/Correlational Research

Looking for Links:
Descriptive/Correlational Research
Correlational Studies
Naturalistic Observations
Case Studies
Correlational Studies
 A correlation exists when two variables are related
to each other
 Does not prove a cause-effect relationship
 A link between variable X and Y does not prove which
variable is causing a change on the other = causation
Correlations can be…
 Positive Correlation: two variables change together in
the same direction
 Studying 6hours/week in PSY 115 is correlated to a final grade
of an A.
 Lack of sleep is correlated to a lower GPA.
 Negative Correlation: two variables change
in the opposite direction
 Poor attendance is correlated to low grades
Correlational Coefficient
 Numerical index of the degree of relationship
between two variables (-1.00 to +1.00) A
 coefficient close to zero = no correlation
 The closer a number falls to -1 or +1 means the
stronger the correlation
 The closer a number falls to zero means the weaker
the correlation
Naturalistic Observations
 Careful observation of behaviors without
intervening directly with the subjects
 Behavior unfolds naturally in natural environment
 Advantage: environment is natural, not artificial
 Disadvantages: difficult for researchers to not be
obtrusive and affect behavior, or be able to explain
behavior observed
Case Studies
 In-depth investigation of an individual subject
 How they are conducted:
Interview subject
Interview those close to the subject
Direct observation
Examination of records
Psychological testing
 Advantages: good for certain phenomena (psych
disorders), provide real-life illustrations for
 Disadvantages: highly subjective, information knits
together impressionist way, easy to see what you want,
clinical samples are unrepresentative
 Use of questionnaires/interviews to gather information
about aspects of participants background and behavior
 i.e. taller people = more successful
 Advantages: easy to use when it is difficult to
observe directly, easy to gather large amount of
 Disadvantage: depend on self-reporting, poorly
worded questions, intentional deception, wishful
thinking, memory lapses, cannot prove cause-effect