Correlational Research

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CORRELATIONAL RESEARCH
What are the Uses of Correlational Research?
 What are the Requirements for Correlational
Research?
 Why Doesn’t Correlation Mean Causation?
 What is a Cross-Lagged Panel?

What Are the Uses of
Correlational Research?
Test reliability
 Test validity
 Test hypotheses about relationships between
variables
 Predict scores (regression)

What Are the Requirements for
Correlational Research?
Any of the descriptive methods can be used
(observation, survey, archival, physical traces).
 Must have independent pairs of scores.

Why Doesn’t Correlation
Mean Causation?

A correlation by itself does not show that one
variable causes the other due to:



the third variable problem
the directionality problem
A correlation is consistent with a causal
relationship but does not demonstrate causation.
Why Doesn’t Correlation
Mean Causation?
A correlation between X and Y could be caused
by a third variable influencing both X and Y.
 If Z influences both X and Y, then X and Y will
be correlated only because they are both affected
by Z.
 Particular third variables can be measured and
statistically controlled using partial correlation.

Why Doesn’t Correlation
Mean Causation?
A correlation between X and Y could be a result
of X causing Y or Y causing X; this is the
directionality problem.
 Directionality can be examined using a crosslagged panel design.

What is a Cross-Lagged Panel?
Design used to determine direction of cause
 Measure both variables at two different points in
time
 Cause cannot work backwards in time

Time 1
variable X
Time 2
variable X
variable Y
variable Y
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