Descriptive and Correlational ResearchResearch is a crucial element in any discipline or since it avails an opportunity through which variables can be co-related and associated with each other so that facts and conclusions about them can be identified. Expectedly, different social and scientific disciplines deal with different kinds of variables and truths which must be uncovered using different approaches (Bordens, 2006). This is the reason behind different methods of research. In this paper, the author aims to first define both descriptive and correlational research before proceeding to explain the purpose of each.
The paper also discusses why these methods of research are considered a good first step in examining variables of interest.Descriptive research is also referred to as statistical research and devotes itself to the description of the data and characteristics associated with a certain population or phenomenon under investigation. Despite the fact that descriptive research describes the attributes or variables associated with the population in a factual, accurate and systematic way, it cannot be applied in the creation of causal relationships between these attributes (Jackson 2007).From the above description of descriptive research, it is evident that the purpose of this type or method of research is to provide a description of the subject ort phenomenon being studied.
Descriptive research will therefore provide the information required to empirically answer all questions which may start with what, who, where, how many, how often, how, when and so on about the subject being studied (McBurney & White, 2009). It (descriptive research) yields conclusive information by studying frequencies, averages, deviations, means, variances (Salkind, 2008) and any other type of statistical information calculable from the raw data gathered about the subject under examination. The overall objective of descriptive research is to provide the researcher with a better understanding of a given topic, subject or phenomenon, for example the demographic characteristics of a neighborhood or the dietary preferences of a given segment of the population.On its part, correlational research, as its name suggests, is a research method in which the measures of two or more variables of a subject or phenomenon under study are taken without due manipulation of any of the variables with the objective of determining whether there is any kind of relationship or interdependence on the variables (Salkind, 2008). In other words, correlational research aims to establish whether and to what degree, the measurable variables associated with a certain subject or given phenomena are related.
Correlational research therefore, after providing a measure of the strength of the interdependence or relationship between two variables, presents a powerful incentive upon which predictions can be based on. If the relationship between two variables is determined or estimated, the value of one variable can be predicted or forecast if the value of the other variable is established or given (Bordens, 2006). This type of research is widely used in the formulation of forecasts for demand, production and sales characteristics among other areas.Both descriptive and correlational research would be considered a good step in examining variables of interest because these variables provide the basis for their methodologies. Descriptive and correlational researches do not manipulate variables in any way; they rather study them to provide a more concise description or a clearer understanding of the subject or phenomenon under investigation (Bordens 2006). To have a deeper understanding of the variables of interest, it would only be good to begin analyzing them from first their descriptions, their magnitudes or measure and then the relationships that may exist between them.ReferencesBordens.
(2006). Research Design and Methods. New Delhi, India: McGraw-Hill Education (India) Pvt Ltd.Jackson, S. L. (2007). Research Methods: A Modular Approach. Florence, KY: Cengage Learning.
McBurney, D. H. & White, T. L. (2009). Research Methods, Examples and Explanations. Florence, KY: Cengage Learning.Salkind, N.
J. (2008). Exploring Research. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall