Is Correlational Design Helpful in Research? 

Is Correlational Design Helpful in Research? 

The purpose of a correlational study is to demonstrate a link between three or more independent factors. It requires measuring the relevant variables and figuring out whether they have a relationship. This type of research does not change any variables but identifies patterns between variables.  

Correlational studies cannot show cause-and-effect relationships. They help predict future outcomes or identify risk factors. 

Kinds of Correlation Design Research Outputs  

In correlational research, the researchers generally reach the following conclusions or outputs:  

Positive Correlation  

Both variables rise and fall together if one of them changes value. For example, exercising and mental health are positively correlated with each other.  

Negative Correlation 

It indicates that the variables are inversely proportional, i.e., if one of the variables increases, the other decreases. For this reason, on a graph, the representation of a downward line is where the value of one variable increases and reflects in the other. 

Zero Correlation  

A zero correlation indicated that there was no conclusive correlation between the variables of the study. The zero correlation represents that variables do not correlate with each other.  

In the event that one variable increases or decreases, it would have no impact on the other. For example, if the price of petrol increases, it will not directly impact the shoe industry.  

Spurious Correlation 

A spurious correlation is a relationship between two variables that are not causally related but appear to be. For example, there is a spurious correlation between ice cream sales and crime rates. In other words, the crime rate rises in tandem with ice cream sales. However, this does not mean that ice cream causes crime. 

ALSO READ: Getting to Know Research Methodology: A Quick Guide  

Correlation Design Examples  

The following examples will provide a better understanding of this research method:  

Smoking and Heart Attack 

Scientists looked into the connection between tobacco use and heart attacks. The researchers found a positive correlation, i.e., an increase in the number of cigarettes enhances your chances of getting a heart attack.  

Exercise and Mental Health 

Let’s take another example if a dietician wants to frame a diet plan for clients wishing to lose weight. They would correlate different food options with their impact on an individual’s weight to conclude an effective plan.  

Education and Income 

A study on education and income found a positive correlation between education level and income. The study found that as education levels increased, so did revenue. 

ALSO READ: When To Conduct A Cross-Sectional Study? 

Advantages and Limitations of Correlation Design Research 

Correlation design research has several advantages and limitations, which are below: 


The correlational research design has several advantages: 

  • Helps researchers to identify relationships between variables. 
  • Less expensive and time-consuming than experimental research design. 
  • When influencing the dependent variable is not feasible or acceptable for ethical or legal reasons. 
  • It can generate hypotheses for further research. 


The correlational research design has several limitations: 

  • Does not establish cause and effect. 
  • Cannot rule out alternative explanations. 
  • It is subject to measurement errors and biases. 
  • Cannot control extraneous variables that may affect the relationship between variables. 

How to Conduct Correlational Research Design? 

Here are the steps to conduct a correlational design: 

Define the Problem and Purpose 

The first step in conducting correlational research design is to define the problem and purpose of the study. This involves identifying the research questions and objectives. 

Identify Variables and Measures 

The second step is to identify the variables that will be studied and the measures used to assess them. This involves selecting reliable and valid measures appropriate for the research questions. 

Collect Data 

The third step is to collect data. For this, you select a sample of participants. You can then see methods by which collecting data is ideal. Such as surveys, questionnaires, or observations to collect data. 

Analyze Data 

The fourth stage is conducting the necessary statistical analysis of the gathered information. This involves calculating correlations between variables and testing for statistical significance. 

Report Findings 

The final step is to report the findings of the study. This involves presenting the results clearly and drawing conclusions based on the data. 

ALSO READ: Fundamental Concepts For Regression Analysis 


In conclusion, the correlation design helps explore relationships between two variables. It provides a roadmap for researchers to gain insights and make data-driven decisions. A correlation design identifies relationships between variables. It also tests hypotheses and identifies trends and patterns between them.  


What is the difference between correlational research design and experimental research design? 

Correlational research design studies the relationship between variables. At the same time, experimental research design manipulates the independent variable to establish causation. 

Can a correlational research design establish cause and effect? 

No, correlational research design cannot establish cause and effect. 

What are the advantages of using a correlational research design? 

Correlational research design is less expensive and time-consuming than experimental research design. It can generate hypotheses for further research. 

What are the limitations of using a correlational research design? 

Correlational research design does not establish cause and effect. This means we cannot rule out alternative explanations. It is subject to measurement errors and biases and cannot control extraneous variables. 

How is correlational research design used in the social sciences? 

A correlational research design is collecting data to study the relationship between variables. Various fields use this research method, such as psychology, sociology, economics, and public health.

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