# 11/20/2014. Correlational research is used to describe the relationship between two or more naturally occurring variables.

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1 Correlational research is used to describe the relationship between two or more naturally occurring variables. Is age related to political conservativism? Are highly extraverted people less afraid of rejection than less extraverted people? Is depression correlated with hypochondriasis? Is I.Q. related to reaction time? Do not imply a cause-and-effect relationship But can rule out whether two variables covary So can show that one variable does not cause another Do imply that variables share something in common Some factors are impossible to manipulate experimentally Personality Demographic categories Most variables that cannot be studied experimentally can be studied correlationally Variables are measured Relationship among variables is assessed It is unethical to manipulate some variables Severe illness Brain injury 1

2 In correlational research the terms predictor variable and criterion/outcome variable are used to describe the variables The terms IV and DV may be used but do not have the same meaning as when used in true experiments In correlational research, independent variable is not manipulated There is no presumption that dependent variable depends on the independent variable, only that a relationship exists Therefore, one cannot draw causal conclusions from correlational research Correlational analysis assumes that the relationship between the independent and dependent variables is linear Can be graphed as a straight line Always plot before analyzing If relationship between variables is nonlinear, correlation coefficient will be misleading Curvilinear relationships have a correlational coefficient of zero For correlational analyses with more than one IV, it is assumed that the relationship is additive People s scores on DV can be predicted by an equation that sums their weighted scores on the IVs It is also assumed that there are no interactions among the IVs Expresses degree of linear relatedness between two variables Varies between 1.00 and Strength of relationship is Indicated by absolute value of coefficient Stronger as shared variance increases Pearson correlation coefficient (r) is the most commonly used measure of correlation 2

3 The magnitude or numerical value of a correlation expresses the strength of the relationship between the two variables. When r =.00, the variables are not related. A correlation of.78 indicates that the variables are more strongly related than does a correlation of.30. Magnitude is unrelated to the sign of r; two variables with a correlation of.78 are just as strongly related as two variables with a correlation of If X Increases in value Decreases in value Increases in value Decreases in value And Y Increases in value Decreases in value Decreases in value Increases in value The correlation is Positive or direct Positive or direct Negative or inverse Negative or inverse Example The taller one gets (X), the more one weighs (Y). The fewer mistakes one makes (X), the fewer hours of remedial work (Y) one participates in. The better one behaves (X), the fewer in-class suspensions (Y) one has. The less time one spends studying (X), the more errors one makes on the test (Y). Spearman rank-order correlation used when variables are measured on an ordinal scale (the numbers reflect the rank ordering of participants on some attribute) Phi coefficient used when both variables are dichotomous Point-biserial correlation used when only one of the variables is dichotomous Pearson product moment correlation r xy Correlation between variables x and y Scattergram representation 1. Set up x and y axes 2. Represent one variable on x axis and one on y axis 3. Plot each pair of x and y coordinates 3

4 When points are closer to a straight line, the correlation becomes stronger As slope of line approaches 45, correlation becomes stronger Outliers: Extreme scores Usually defined as scores more than three standard deviations above/below mean Can artificially lower a correlation If outliers are present, the researcher can: mathematically transform the data omit outliers Which option to choose depends on the probable meaning of the outliers Is the square of the correlation coefficient Indicates the proportion of variance in one variable that is accounted for by another variable. The correlation between children s and parents neuroticism scores is.25. If we square this correlation (.0625), the coefficient of determination tells us that 6.25% of the variance in children s neuroticism scores can be accounted for by their parent s scores. Copyright Pearson

5 If r xy Is And r xy 2 Is Then the Change From Is to.2 3% to.3 5% Coefficient of alienation 1 coefficient of determination Proportion of variance in one variable unexplained by variance in the other to.4 7% to.5 9% to.6 11% to.7 13% to.8 15% to.9 17% The increase in the proportion of variance explained is not linear Eyeball method Correlations between.8 and and.8.4 and.6.2 and.4 0 and.2 Are said to be Very strong Strong Moderate Weak Very weak A correlation coefficient is statistically significant when the correlation calculated on a sample has a very low probability of being.00 in the population from which the sample came. 5

6 1. Sample size 2. Magnitude of the correlation 3. How careful you want to be not to draw an inaccurate conclusion about whether the correlation is.00 Directional Hypothesis predicts the direction of the correlation (i.e., positive or negative) Nondirectional Hypothesis predicts that two variables will be correlated but does not specify whether the correlation will be positive or negative Reliability of a Measure -- the less reliable a measure is, the lower its correlations with other measures will be. If the true correlation between neuroticism in children and in their parents is.45, but you use a scale that is unreliable, the obtained correlation will not be.45 but rather near.00. Shrinking of the observed correlation relative to the true score correlation Example: True score correlation = 0.40 Reliability of two measures = 0.75 Maximum possible observed correlation =

7 Restriction in range: Occurs when the scores of one or both variables in a sample have a range of values that is less than the range of scores in the population Reduces the observed correlation As a variable s range narrows, the variable comes closer to being a constant Correlation between a constant and a variable is zero As a variable s sampled range becomes smaller, its maximum possible correlation with another variable becomes smaller Gender Masc Fem Gender Masc Fem Male 7 1 Female 1 6 Male 6 4 Female 2 5 Male 5 3 Female 2 6 Male 6 2 Female 2 7 Male 5 2 Female 1 7 Male 4 2 Female 2 5 Male 6 1 Female 3 4 Male 7 1 Female 2 4 Male 5 2 Female 2 5 Male 5 3 Female 3 4 Ratings on 7-point scales where 1 = not at all and 7 = very With all participants included, ratings of masculinity and femininity are negatively correlated (r = 0.88) With only male participants, r = 0.42 Range is restricted on both measures when only male participants are assessed Whitley & Kite, Principles of Research in Behavioral Science, Third Edition, 2013 Taylor & Francis 7

8 Subgroup differences: The participant sample on which a correlation is based contains two or more subgroups The combined group correlation will not accurately reflect the subgroup correlations if the correlation differs within the subgroups or the mean scores differ within the subgroups Whitley & Kite, Principles of Research in Behavioral Science, Third Edition, 2013 Taylor & Francis To test for subgroup differences, one should examine: the means and standard deviations of subgroups the correlations within subgroups One can also plot the subgroups scores on variables in single scatterplot Males Females Mean SD r MF Mean SD r MF Masc Fem The means and standard deviations differ for male and female participants The correlation between masculinity and femininity is stronger for female participants 8

9 Constructs that are composed of two or more subordinate components Each component can be distinguished from the others and measured separately Components are distinguishable even though they are related to each other both logically and empirically It is important to determine whether a construct is multifaceted or multidimensional Components of multidimensional constructs are not related to one another Tells you whether or not to combine facets into overall index Facets should not be combined if: they are theoretically or empirically related to different DVs or different facets of a DV the theory of the construct predicts an interaction among the facets When facets are combined into general index, useful information is lost Cannot separately test the relationships of the facets to their appropriate DVs So, you should not combine facets unless you are certain that the combined score and the scores on all facets have same relation to DV Combining Facets Facets can be combined in some circumstances, such as when the researcher is interested in the latent variable represented by the facets a latent variable is unmeasured and represented by the combination of several operational definitions of a construct 9

10 Combining Facets One should test whether latent variable is more important in relation to DV than any of its facets If so, it should be a better predictor of the DV Also, in some cases, it is better to use statistics specifically designed to deal with latent variables Combining Facets Facets can also be combined when, compared to the facets, the latent variable is more important more interesting represents a more appropriate level of abstraction Decision is based on theory of interest Note that theorists may disagree about what constitutes an appropriate level of abstraction of a construct Use only the most reliable measures available Look for restricted range Check the ranges of the scores for your sample against published norms Plot the scores for the subgroups and the combined group before computing r Compute subgroup correlations and means When using multifaceted constructs, avoid combining facets unless there is a good reason to do so r is an index of the relationship between two variables indicates the accuracy with which scores on one variable can predict the other Prediction is assessed by bivariate regression An equation is developed to predict one variable (X) from the other (Y) 10

11 Equation takes the form of: Y = a + bx, where a is the intercept the value of Y when X is zero b is the slope the amount of change in Y for each unit change in X Do women and men differ in their selfreported masculinity and femininity? Can be tested with Fisher s z transformation Note that a lack of difference does not necessarily mean the relationship between the variables is the same The slope may differ for subgroups even if r does not However, predictions may be equally accurate for subgroups This situation occurs because r is a standardized index X and Y scores are transformed to have mean of 0 and SD of 1 Slopes are unstandardized Examines the extent to which the correlation between two variables (X and Y) can be accounted for by their mutual correlation with an extraneous variable (Z) That is, Z is correlated with both X and Y Tests what the correlation of X and Y would be if Z were not also correlated with them (e.g. all research participants had the same score on Z) Is interpreted the same way as the zero order correlation coefficient pr represents the strength of the relationship when the effect of Z is removed or held constant 11

12 Zero-Order Correlations Masculinity Self-Esteem Depression 0.26* 0.52* Self-esteem 0.67* Partial Correlations Correlation of Controlling for Masculinity and Depression Self-esteem 0.14 Masculinity and Self-esteem Depression 0.64* Depression and Self-esteem Masculinity 0.48* Partial Correlation Analysis Results show the correlation between masculinity and depression becomes nonsignificant when self-esteem is controlled self-esteem and depression is virtually unaffected when masculinity is controlled Suggests the relationship between masculinity and depression can be accounted for by masculinity s correlation with selfesteem The masculinity-depression relationship is spurious Source: Feather, 1985 *p<0.001 Feather s (1985) study of the correlation between masculinity and depression if self-esteem is controlled Grade Reading Math Grade Reading Extends simple and partial correlations to situations in which there are more than two IVs Used for two purposes 1. To derive an equation that predicts scores on some criterion variable from a set of predictor variables 2. To explain variation in a DV in terms of its degree of association with members of a set of IVs Math

13 Purpose is to derive the equation that most accurately predicts a criterion variable from a set of predictor variables Uses all predictors in a set Not designed to determine which predictor does the best job Instead, used to determine the best predictive equation using an entire set of predictors Similar to partial correlation analysis Allows as many variables to be partialed as the investigator needs Researcher creates a regression equation by entering variables to the equation Allows investigator to test hypotheses about relationships between predictor variables and a criterion variable with other variables controlled Multiple correlation coefficient (R): An index of the degree of association between the predictor variables as a set and the criterion variable Provides no information about the relationship of any one predictor variable to the criterion variable R 2 represents the proportion of variance in the criterion variable accounted for by its relationship with the total set of predictors Regression coefficient: The value by which the score on a predictor variable is multiplied to predict the score on the criterion variable Represents the amount of change in Y brought about by a change in X 13

14 Regression coefficients can be standardized (β) or unstandardized (B) If standardized: βs for all IVs in an analysis are on the same scale Have a mean of 0 and SD of 1 can be used to compare the degree to which different IVs in an analysis are predictive of the DV If unstandardized: Bs have same units regardless of the sample coefficients can be used to compare the predictive utility of an IV across samples t-tests can be used to determine whether these comparisons are statistically significant Change in R 2 used in hierarchical MRA represents the increase in the proportion of variance in the DV that is accounted for by adding another IV to the regression equation addresses whether adding that IV helps predict Y better than the equation without that IV Change in R 2 can fluctuate as a function of the order in which the variable is entered into the equation entering a variable earlier will generally result in larger change in R 2 than entering it later Especially likely if variable has high correlation with other predictor variables 14

15 Multicollinearity is a condition that arises when two or more predictor variables are highly correlated with each other can adversely effect results of MRA researchers must check to see if it is affecting their data Can inflate the standard errors of regression coefficients Can lead to nonsignificant statistical outcomes Research may erroneously conclude the criterion and predictor variables are unrelated Can lead to misleading conclusions about changes in R 2 Including multiple measures of one construct in set of predictor variables If using multiple measures, better to use a latent variables analysis Using variables that are naturally correlated Using measures of conceptually different constructs that are highly correlated Sampling error Create a correlation matrix of predictor variables before conducting MRA Look for correlations 0.80 Examine the pattern of correlations among several predictors Compute the variance inflation factor (VIF) Look for VIFs 10 VIF = 1 / (1 - R 2 ) 15

16 When planning a study, avoid including redundant variables Combine multiple measures of a construct into indexes If measures of conceptually-different constructs are highly correlated, use measures that show the lowest r When source of multicollinearity is sampling error, collect more data to reduce error Delete IVs that might be source of the problem Consider whether this results in valuable information loss Conduct a factor analysis to empirically determine which variables to combine in an index When using MRA in place of a factorial ANOVA consider curvilinear relationships Arithmetic-square of the IV represents curvilinear effect use the arithmetic product of the scores for two IVs to represent their interaction Be careful to avoid inducing multicollinearity (books on MRA explain how to do this) To use continuous IVs in ANOVA, they must be transformed into categorical variables Usually done with median split People scoring above median classified as high People scoring below median classified as low However, doing so creates conceptual, empirical, and statistical problems 16

17 Problems are avoided by using MRA IV can be treated as continuous rather than categorical If also have other, categorical variables, use dummy coding Assign values to experimental and control conditions In ANOVA, assumption is that IVs are uncorrelated Not an assumption of MRA If IVs are correlated, use MRA Used when DV is categorical Has same purpose as MRA, but does not assume that variables are normally distributed the relationship between the IVs and DVs are linear Produces an odds ratio (OR) Describes the likelihood that a research participant is a member of one category rather than the others OR of 1 indicates that scores are unrelated to membership in the DV categories OR > 1 indicates that high scoring participants are more likely to be in a target group OR < 1 indicates that high scoring participants are more likely to be in the other group 17

18 Allows a researcher to examine the pattern of relationships among a set of nominal level variables Most familiar example: chi-square test of association Loglinear analysis extends the principles of chi-square to situations in which there are more than two variables Logit analysis is used when one of the variables in loglinear analysis is considered to be the IV Analogous to ANOVA for nominal level DVs Allows tests of main effects and interactions for IVs Dependent Variable Categorical Continuous Data Types and Data Analysis Independent Variable Categorical Chi-square Analysis Loglinear Analysis Logit Analysis Analysis of Variance Continuous Logistic Regression Analysis Multiple Regression Analysis 18

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