How to use related research in psychology

Correlation refers to the relationship between two variables.The correlation can be strong or weak, positive or negative. Sometimes, there is no correlation.

Very good / Brianna Gilmartin

What does relevance mean

There are three possible results of correlation studies: positive correlation, negative correlation, or no correlation. Researchers can use numerical values ​​called correlation coefficients to present results.

  • Positive correlation: Both variables increase or decrease at the same time. A correlation coefficient close to +1.00 indicates a strong positive correlation.
  • Negative correlation: As the number of one variable increases, the other decreases (and vice versa). A correlation coefficient close to -1.00 indicates a strong negative correlation.
  • No correlation: There is no relationship between the two variables. A correlation coefficient of 0 means no correlation.

What is the correlation coefficient?

The correlation coefficient is a measure of the strength of the correlation. It can range from -1.00 (negative) to +1.00 (positive). A correlation coefficient of 0 means no correlation.

How the related research works

Related research is a kind of research commonly used in psychology and medicine and other fields.Relevant research is a preliminary method of collecting information on the subject. This method is also useful if the researcher is unable to conduct the experiment.

Researchers use correlation to see if there is a relationship between two or more variables, but the variables themselves are not under the control of the researcher.

Although relevant research can prove the relationship between variables, it cannot prove that changing one variable changes another. In other words, relevant research cannot prove causality.

Types of related research

Related research is divided into three types: natural observation method, survey method and archive research. Each type has its own purpose, as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

Nature observation

Natural observation methods involve observing and recording variables of interest in a natural environment without interference or manipulation.


  • Can inspire ideas for further research

  • Options when laboratory experiments are not available

  • View variables in the natural environment


  • Can be time-consuming and expensive

  • Cannot control external variables

  • Variables are not scientifically controlled

  • If aware of being observed, the subject’s behavior may be different

This method is very suitable for researchers who want to understand how variables behave in their natural environment or state.Then you can draw inspiration from observations and provide information for future research.

In some cases, it may be the only method available to researchers; for example, if laboratory experiments will be ruled out by access, resources, or ethics. It may be preferable to not being able to conduct research at all, but this method can be costly and usually requires a lot of time.

Natural observations pose some challenges for researchers. On the one hand, it does not allow them to control or influence variables in any way, nor can they change any possible external variables.

However, this does not mean that researchers will obtain reliable data by observing variables, or that the information they collect will be unbiased.

For example, if the research subjects know that they are being monitored, their behavior may be different. Researchers may not realize that the behavior they are observing is not necessarily the subject’s natural state (that is, how they would act if they did not know they were being monitored).

Researchers also need to be aware of their biases, which can affect the observation and interpretation of subjects’ behavior.

investigation method

Surveys and questionnaires are some of the most commonly used methods in psychological research. The survey method involves having a random sample of participants complete a survey, test, or questionnaire related to the variable of interest.Random sampling is critical to the universality of survey results.


  • Results may be affected by bad investigation questions

  • Results may be affected by an unrepresentative sample

  • Results may be affected by participants

If researchers need to collect large amounts of data in a short period of time, surveys may be the fastest, easiest, and cheapest option.

This is also a flexible method because it allows researchers to create data collection tools, which will help ensure that they get the information they need (survey response) from all sources they want to use (a random sample of participating in the survey) .

Survey data may be cost-effective and easy to obtain, but it also has its drawbacks. On the one hand, the data is not always reliable—especially if the survey questions are poorly written or the overall design or delivery is weak.The data is also affected by specific failures, such as unrepresented or unrepresented samples.

The use of the survey relies on participants to provide useful data. Researchers need to understand the specific factors related to the people participating in the survey that will affect their results.

For example, some people may find it difficult to understand these issues. A person may answer in a specific way, trying to please the researcher or trying to control what the researcher thinks of them (for example, trying to make oneself “look better”).

Sometimes, interviewees may not even realize that their answers are incorrect or misleading due to false memories.

Archive research

Many areas of psychology research benefit from analyzing research conducted long ago by other researchers, as well as reviewing historical records and case studies.

For example, in an experiment called “Irritable Heart,” researchers used digital records containing information about American Civil War veterans to learn more about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Using records, databases, and libraries that are publicly accessible or through their institutions can help researchers who may not have a lot of funds to support their research.

Through academic institutions, museums, and data repositories around the world, researchers at all levels have access to free and low-cost resources.

Another potential benefit is that these sources often provide large amounts of data collected over a long period of time, which can provide researchers with a way to view trends, relationships, and results related to their research.

Although the inability to change variables may be a disadvantage of some methods, it may be a benefit of archival research. In other words, there are challenges in using historical records or information collected a long time ago. On the one hand, important information may be missing or incomplete, and some aspects of old research may not be useful to researchers in a modern context.

One of the main issues in archive research is reliability. When reviewing old research, there may be little information about who conducted the research, how to design the research, who participated in the research, and how to collect and interpret the data.

Researchers may also face ethical dilemmas—for example, should modern researchers use unethical or questionable research data?

Limitations of related research

You may have heard the phrase “correlation does not equal causality”. This means that although relevant research can show that there is a relationship between two variables, it cannot prove that one variable changes another.

For example, a researcher may conduct a related study that shows a relationship between academic success and a person’s self-esteem. However, the research does not show that academic success will change a person’s self-esteem.

In order to determine why this relationship exists, researchers need to consider and experiment with other variables, such as the subjects’ social relationships, cognitive abilities, personality, and socioeconomic status.