Correlational research studies are one common type of
scientific research, and one type of quantitative research. It is
important to have a good understanding of correlational research.
What is a correlational study?
Correlational Study Definition
A correlational study is a scientific study in which a
researcher investigates associations between variables and none
of the variables are manipulated.
A correlation coefficient may be calculated. This correlation
coefficient is a quantitative measure of the association between
The Goal of Correlational Research
The goal of correlational research is to find out whether one or
more variables can predict other variables. Correlational research
allows us to find out what variables may be related. However, the
fact that two things are related or correlated does not mean there
is a causal relationship. It is important to make a distinction
between correlation and causation. Two things can be correlated
without there being a causal relationship.
Examples of Correlational Studies
There are many examples of correlational research. There are
articles on this website (psychologyandsociety.com) that contain
information on correlational studies. Below are two examples of
In their fourth study, Mayer and Frantz (2004) had people fill
out questionnaires with some questions pertaining to the
connectedness of nature scale, and some questions pertaining to a
life satisfaction measure (see their article for information about
other measures and results). They found that the connectedness to
nature measure was positively correlated with life satisfaction.
Moreover, Decker (1987) found that a supervisor's perceived
sense of humor was positively correlated with people's job
Decker, W. H. (1987). Managerial humor and subordinate
satisfaction. Social Behavior and Personality, 15, 225-232.
Mayer, F. S., & Frantz, C. M. (2004). The connectedness to
nature scale: A measure of individuals' feeling in community
with nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 24, 503-