Principles and Methods of Social Research

By William D. Crano; Marilynn B. Brewer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
8

CORRELATIONAL DESIGN
AND CAUSAL ANALYSIS

The initial chapters of this book focused on considerations relevant to the development and use of experimental designs. In these designs, participants' exposure to a treatment or manipulation is totally controlled by the researcher; the major purpose of such control is to reduce or eliminate the plausibility of alternative explanations of change in the dependent variable. In research of this type, there is a clear distinction between the independent (or causal) variable, which is controlled or manipulated by the experimenter, and the dependent variable, which is allowed to vary freely. In many areas of research in social science, however, experimental control over important variables is either impossible, unethical, or, at the very least, completely impractical.

The experimenter studying the effects of organismic characteristics such as sex, age, or height, or such relatively enduring personal attributes as religious affiliation, for example, is in no position to manipulate these variables. People arrive at the laboratory with predetermined levels of these characteristics, and these features of the individual are beyond the immediate influence of the experimenter. Similarly, if participants' levels of a relevant variable are determined by their responses on a measuring instrument, such as a scale of authoritarianism, extraversion, or need for cognition, the experimenter again is not in a position to manipulate the initial level of this variable. It is a feature of the participants themselves. In most situations of this type, the experimenter can no longer determine whether variations in the independent variable cause changes in the dependent variable; rather, the research question becomes whether the variables under investigation are in some way related to one another. The type of analysis thus becomes correlational, rather than causal.1

In most common correlational approaches, the variables are allowed to vary freely, and the researcher records the extent of their covariation, that is, the extent to which

____________________
1
Relatively recent statistical developments in social science in “structural equation modeling” or “path analysis” do facilitate the causal interpretation of correlational results, if certain stringent requirements are met. We discuss some of these techniques, and their requirements, later in this chapter.

-125-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Principles and Methods of Social Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 416

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.