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Educational Research

Chapter 7 Correlational Research Gay, Mills, and Airasian

Topics to Be Discussed

Definition, purpose, and limitation of correlational research Correlation coefficients and their significance Process of conducting correlational research Relationship studies Prediction studies

Correlational Research

Definition

Whether and to what degree variables are related Determine relationships Make predictions Cannot indicate cause and effect
Objectives 1.1, 1.2, & 1.3

Purpose

Limitation

The Process

Problem selection

Variables to be correlated are selected on the basis of some rationale


Math attitudes and math achievement Teachers sense of efficacy and their effectiveness

Increases the ability to meaningfully interpret results

Inefficiency and difficulty interpreting the results from a shotgun approach


Objective 2.1

The Process

Participant and instrument selection


Minimum of 30 subjects Instruments must be valid and reliable


Higher validity and reliability requires smaller samples Lower validity and reliability requires larger samples

Design and procedures

Collect data on two or more variables for each subject Compute the appropriate correlation coefficient
Objectives 2.2 & 2.3

Data analysis

Correlation Coefficients

A correlation coefficient identifies the size and direction of a relationship

Size/magnitude

Ranges from 0.00 1.00 Positive or negative

Direction

Objectives 3.1, 3.2, & 3.3

Correlation Coefficients

Interpreting the size of correlations

General rule

Less than .35 is a low correlation Between .36 and .65 is a moderate correlation Above .66 is a high correlation Between .60 and .70 are adequate for group predictions Above .80 is adequate for individual predictions
Objective 3.5

Predictions

Correlation Coefficients

Interpreting the size of correlations (cont.)

Criterion-related validity

Above .60 for affective scales is adequate Above .80 for tests is minimally acceptable Above .90 is very good Between .80 and .89 is acceptable Between .70 and .79 is minimally acceptable Lower than .69 is problematic
Objective 3.5

Inter-rater reliability

Correlation Coefficients

Interpreting the direction of correlations

Direction

Positive

High scores on the predictor are associated with high scores on the criterion Low scores on the predictor are associated with low scores on the criterion High scores on the predictor are associated with low scores on the criterion Low scores on the predictor are associated with high scores on the criterion

Negative

Positive or negative does not mean good or bad


Objective 3.3

Correlation Coefficients

Interpreting the size and direction of correlations using the general rule

+.95 is a strong positive correlation +.50 is a moderate positive correlation +.20 is a low positive correlation -.26 is a low negative correlation -.49 is a moderate negative correlation -.95 is a strong negative correlation

Which of the correlations above is the strongest, the first or last?


Objective 3.3 & 3.5

Correlation Coefficients

Scatterplots

Graphical presentations of correlations Example of predicting from an attitude scale EX 1 to an achievement test EX 2

Predictor variable - EX1 - is on the horizontal axis Criterion variable - EX 2 - is on the vertical axis
Objective 3.4

An Example of a Scatterplot
50.00

ex2 = 11.23 + 0.72 * ex1 R-Square = 0.66

Linear Regression

45.00

ex2

40.00

35.00

30.00

30.00

40.00

50.00

ex 1

Objective 3.4

Correlation Coefficients

Common variance

Definition

The extent to which variables vary in a systematic manner Interpreted as the percentage of variance in the criterion variable explained by the predictor variable The squared correlation coefficient - r2 Examples 2 If r = .50 then r = .25 25% of the variance in the criterion can be explained by the predictor 2 If r = .70 then r = .49 49% of the variance in the criterion can be explained by the predictor
Objectives 3.6 & 3.7

Computation

Statistical Significance

Statistical significance

Is the observed coefficient different from 0.00?


Does the correlation represent a true relationship? Is the correlation only the result of chance? Consult a table of the critical values of r See Table A.2 in Appendix A .01 (1 chance out of 100) .05 (5 chances out of 100) .10 (10 chances out of 100)
Objectives 4.1 & 4.3

Determining statistical significance


Three common levels of significance

Statistical Significance

Sample size and statistical significance

Small samples require higher correlations for significance Large samples require lower correlations for significance
Small correlation coefficients can be statistically significant even though they have little practical significance +.20

Practical significance and statistical significance

Statistically significant at the .05 level if the sample is about 100 Little or no practical significance because it is very low and predicts only .04 of the variation in the criterion scores Statistically significant at the .05 level if the sample is about 40 Little or no practical significance because it is low and predicts only .09 of the variation in the criterion scores
Objectives 4.2 & 4.4

-.30

Relationship Studies

General purpose

Gain insight into variables that are related to other variables relevant to educators

Achievement Self-esteem Self-concept

Two specific purposes

Suggest subsequent interest in establishing cause and effect between variables found to be related Control for variables related to the dependent variable in experimental studies
Objectives 5.1 & 5.2

Conducting Relationship Studies

Identify a set of variables

Limit to those variables logically related to the criterion Avoid the shotgun approach Possibility of erroneous relationships Issues related to determining statistical significance

Identify a population and select a sample Identify appropriate instruments for measuring each variable Collect data for each instrument from each subject Compute the appropriate correlation coefficient
Objective 6.1

Types of Correlation Coefficients

The type of correlation coefficient depends on the measurement level of the variables

Pearson r - continuous predictor and criterion variables

Math attitude and math achievement

Spearman rho ranked or ordinal predictor and criterion variables

Rank in class and rank on a final exam

Phi coefficient dichotomous predictor and criterion variables

Gender and pass/fail status on a high stakes test

See Table 7.2


Objectives 7.1, 7.2, & 7.3

Linear and Curvilinear Relationships

Linear relationships

Plots of the scores on two variables are best described by a straight line

Math scores and science scores Teacher efficacy and teacher effectiveness

Curvilinear relationships

Plots of scores on two variables are best described by functions


Age and athletic ability Anxiety and achievement

Estimated by the eta correlation


Objectives 8.1, 8.2, & 8.3

An Example of a Linear Relationship


1.0000

fp = 0.39 + 0.01 * ex1 R-Square = 0.80


Linear Regression

0.9000

fp

0.8000

0.7000

30.00

40.00

50.00

ex 1

Objective 8.4

An Example of a Curvilinear Relationship


100.00

LLR Smoother

75.00

score

50.00

25.00

0.00

2.00

4.00

6.00

8.00

10.00

study

Objective 8.4

Factors that Influence Correlations

Sample size

The larger the sample the higher the likelihood of a high correlation Analysis of subgroups

If the total sample consists of males and females each gender represents a subgroup Results across subgroups can be different because they are being obscured by the analysis of the data for the total sample Reduces the size of the sample Potentially reduces variation in the scores
Objective 9.1

Factors that Influence Correlations

Variation

The greater the variation in scores the higher the likelihood of a strong correlation The lower the variation in scores the higher the likelihood of a weak correlation

Attenuation

Correlation coefficients are lower when the instruments being used have low reliability A correction for attenuation is available
Objectives 9.2 & 9.3

Prediction Studies

Attempts to describe the predictive relationships between or among variables

The predictor variable is the variable from which the researcher is predicting The criterion variable is the variable to which the researcher is predicting
Objectives 10.1 & 10.2

Prediction Studies

Three purposes

Facilitates decisions about individuals to help a selection decision Tests variables believed to be good predictors of a criterion Determines the predictive validity of an instrument
Objective 11.1

Prediction Studies

Single and multiple predictors

Linear regression - one predictor and one criterion


Y = a + bX

r2

Multiple regression more than one predictor and one criterion


Y = a + bX1 + bX2 + + bXi r2 or the coefficient of determination


Objective 11.4

Conducting a Prediction Study

Identify a set of variables

Limit to those variables logically related to the criterion

Identify a population and select a sample Identify appropriate instruments for measuring each variable

Ensure appropriate levels of validity and reliability


Typically data is collected at different points in time

Collect data for each instrument from each subject

Compute the results The multiple regression coefficient The multiple regression equation (i.e., the prediction equation)

Conducting a Prediction Study

Issues of concern

Shrinkage the tendency of a prediction equation to become less accurate when used with a group other than the one on which the equation was originally developed Cross validation validation of a prediction equation with another group of subjects to identify problematic variables
Objective 11.3

Conducting a Prediction Study

Issues of concern (cont.)

Errors of measurement (e.g., low validity or reliability) diminish the accuracy of the prediction Intervening variables can influence the predictive process if there is too much time between collecting the predictor and criterion variables Criterion variables defined in general terms (e.g., teacher effectiveness, success in school) tend to have lower prediction accuracy than those defined very narrowly (e.g., overall GPA, test scores)
Objective 11.5

Differences between Types of Studies

Correlational research is a general category that is usually discussed in terms of two variables Relationship studies develop insight into the relationships between several variables

The measurement of all variables occurs at about the same time

Predictive studies involve the predictive relationships between or among variables

The predictor variables are collected long before the criterion variable
Objectives 11.2 & 11.3

Other Correlation Analyses

Path analysis

Investigates the patterns of relationships among a number of variables Results in a diagram that indicates the specific manner by which variables are related (i.e., paths) and the strength of those relationships An extension of this analysis is structural equation modeling (SEM)

Clarifies the direct and indirect relationships among variables based on underlying theoretical constructs More precise than path analysis Often known as LISREL for the first computer program used to conduct this analysis
Objective 13.1

Other Correlation Analyses

Discriminant function analysis

Similar to multiple regression except that the criterion variable is categorical Typically used to predict group membership

High or low anxiety Achievers or non-achievers

Objective 13.2

Other Correlation Analyses

Cannonical correlation

An extension of multiple regression in which more than one predictor variable and more than one criterion variable are used A correlational analysis used to take a large number of variables and group them into a smaller number of clusters of similar variables called

Factor analysis

factors

Objectives 13.3 & 13.4

A Checklist of Questions

Was the correct correlation coefficient used? Is the validity and reliability of the instruments acceptable? Is there a restricted range of scores? How large is the sample?