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List the advantages and disadvantages of the following research methods: Correlational Method
Correlational research: In general, correlational research examines the covariation of two or more variables. For example, the early research on cigarette smoking examine the covariation of cigarette smoking and a variety of lung diseases. [ These two variable, smoking and lung disease were found to covary together. Correlational research can be accomplished by a variety of techniques which
include the collection of empirical data. Often times, correlational research is considered type of observational research as nothing is manipulated by the experimenter or individual conducting the research. For example, the early studies on cigarette smoking did not manipulate how many cigarettes were smoked. The researcher only collected the data on the two variables. Nothing was controlled by the researchers. It is important to not that correlational research is not causal research. In other words, we can not make statements concerning cause and effect on the basis of this type of research. There are two major reasons why we can not make cause and effect statements. First, we don t know the direction of the cause. Second, a third variable may be involved of which we are not aware. An example may help clarify these points. In major clinical depressions, the neurotransmitters serotonin and/or norepinephrine have been found to be depleted (Coppen, 1967; Schildkraut & Kety, 1967). In other words, low levels of these two neurotransmitters have been found to be associated with increased levels of clinical depression. However, while we know that the two variables covary - a relationship exists - we do not know if a causal relationship exists. Thus, it is unclear whether a depletion in serotonin/norepinephrine cause depression or whether depression causes a depletion is neurotransmitter levels. This demonstrates the first problem with correlational research; we don't know the direction of the cause. Second, a third variable has been uncovered which may be affecting both of the variables under study. The number of receptors on the postsynaptic neuron has been found to be increased in depression (Segal, Kuczenski, & Mandell, 1974; Ventulani, Staqarz, Dingell, & Sulser, 1976). ]
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