Correlational and Descriptive Research Methods

The relationship between theory and research is interconnecting, research’s main objective is to search or test a theory. Theory, on the other hand, depends on research for development (Fawcett and Downs, Pp. 4-7). There are many types of research, but basically, research is either applied to aim to solve an immediate problem, or basic, which supplements an existing body of knowledge and does not essentially provide a result to use practically. Descriptive research describes and tests descriptive theories which deal with the question what is? It may use empirical methods as observing a phenomenon in its natural setting. Data collected may be quantitative or qualitative. Alternatively, descriptive researchers may use nonempirical methods like philosophical or historical inquiries to clarify an idea as health. Examples of descriptive research are case studies, grounded theory research, and phenomenological studies (Fawcett and Downs, Pp. 4-7). In descriptive research, researchers can not influence the variable (s) under study although it may show the cause-effect relationship between the variables studied.

Correlational research is concerned with making the comparison and researching prevailing modes or the way certain observations behaves influenced by variables. In simple words, correlational research examines trends and tendencies (Thompson, Pp. 2-35). Although correlational research may not provide the best evidence about causal mechanisms, yet it can be used to inform causal inferences in one of two possible ways. The first is an approach based on statistics by statistically testing competing adversary models expressing a cause. The second is by logic-based analysis of nonexperimental data to exclude alternative explanations supporting causal mechanisms (Thompson, Pp. 2-35). Research modalities are many; however, none is without disadvantages. Descriptive and correlational research methods have the advantage of enabling researchers to examine questions that can not be explored by experimental methods of research. Descriptive research, however, widens the scope of the observation or phenomenon under research. The disadvantage of these methods, being nonexperimental, is they do not enable researchers to influence variables, and therefore are unable to identify or quantify the cause-effect relationship (Brackett, P.7, in Barker, Meg, 2003).

Works Cited

Barker, Meg. Introductory Psychology: History, Themes, and Perspectives (Crucial Study Texts for Psychology Degree Courses). Toronto, Ontario: Crucial, 2003.

Fawcett, J., and Downs, F. “The Relationship Between Theory And Research.” Strategies for Educational Inquiry. 1986. Indiana University. 2008. Web.

Thompson, Bruce. “Evaluating the Quality of Evidence from Correlational Research for Evidence-base Practice.” Council for Exceptional Children: Professional Standards. 2004. Council of Exceptional Children. 2008. Web.