In this essay I will design and walkthrough two separate research studies, correlational and experimental, to investigate a specific phenomena. The phenomenon in question is the relationship between higher temperatures and student laziness as seen in a college library. Laziness in this case is characterized by the amount of trash left over upon the library closing after a hot day as compared to the amount on a lower temperature day (less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit).
A correlational study involves looking at the variables present in the phenomena and checking for a relationship based on the hypothesis, the claim I wish to prove. In this case the variables are temperature and amount of trash in the library. The hypothesis may be that on hotter days, there tends to be more trash left in the library. Performing this type of study would involve observing the library and recording the statistical information of those variables each ...view middle of the document...
Another problem may be the third variable problem where I make a cause and effect assumption based on the two variables, but there is actually a third variable involved. For example, say I make the same assumption again that hotter days cause more trash to be put out. I may be wrong because I did not take into account a third variable such as the maintenance crew being on strike for a few high temperature days during my study making it seem as though there was more trash on hotter days. I would avoid the two problems by just checking my data thoroughly for those correlations without making claims of cause and effect.
An experiment would be different from the correlational study. In an experiment I would test a hypothesis. Lets say the hypothesis is hotter temperatures make students leave more trash in the library. The experiment would then be organized to prove that hypothesis right or wrong. I would again be looking at my variables, my independent and dependent variables. An independent variable is one that I have control over. For the purposes of the experiment, lets say I have control over the temperature using the AC unit inside. The dependent variable is the variable that changes according to how I change the independent variable. This would be the trash that is left over by the students at the end of the day. I would then create a controlled environment for my experiment to take place in. I would divide the library in half having one side cool (less than 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and the other side hot (over 80 degrees). The students in the cool side would be my control group. The temperature would remain constant with them to establish regularity (and to avoid confounding variables, which would be when both variables are changed causing a unreliable experiment) and then the hot side would experience varying degrees of heat, equivalent to the fluctuating outside temperatures. I would then observe the experiment for a number of days to gather data on how much trash was being left behind at different temperatures at different times. At the end I would look at my data and see if my hypothesis held true according to what I see.