Correctional Design Essay

1003 words - 4 pages

This paper will exam aspects of correlational design. According to Fabiano-Smith (2011), correlational designs are non-experimental research designs that focus on observing variables as they naturally exist. Since this design type is non-experimental, one of its major disadvantages is the focus on the relationship of the variables and not is cause and effect between the variables. Despite this weakness, correlational design does have several strengths. It observes the variables as they occur in a natural setting without manipulation. Researchers often use the initial establishment of correlational relationships between variables to identify what variables should be further studied for cause and effect utilizing experimental designs.
Why was correlational design chosen? Two of the three studies chosen indicated that there was very little empirical data available for their specific area of study. Establishing correlational relationships is a logical way to identify independent variables for experimental cause and effect research. McDuffie, Yoder, and Stone (2005) indicated that there was no empirical data available on their study of autism and pre-linguistic predictors of vocabulary. Researchers on the effectiveness of patient communications and interactions reported that previous studies did not specifically ask patients how they felt about their care (Shelton & Shryock 2007). Both of these statements make the choice of a correlational study the obvious jumping off point for research. The third study identified a need to clarify symbolic play as a possible independent variable since past studies had lumped symbolic and functional play into a category together (O’Toole & Chiat, 2006).
Was it possible to use a research design different then correlational? Shelton and Shyrock’s (2007) study could have easily been completed as a survey. Patients and staff alike could be given a survey at the end of each day and the data correlated to see if there were differences in how patients and staff felt about how the treatment and interactions of the day had taken place. This would have shifted the focus of the study more to the question of is there a disconnect between how patients and care givers feel the communication interaction went, verses did effective communication take place. The longitudinal correlational design of McDuffie et al., (2005) could have conducted the first empirical research study of cause and effect in regards to utilizing pre-linguistic predictors to study vocabulary outcome in children with autism. The study would also have needed to be longer in order to allow the children’s vocabularies to develop. Given the amount of correlational data already available on attention following and vocabulary this would have seem like a logical step. A problem with the observers was noted in the study of children with Down syndrome as the children were thought to be mimicking the behavior of the observer, and not...

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