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Correlational Research

“If we compare project managers to the project performance, then we might understand what is causing good project performance, but we don’t understand how to conduct good correlational studies.”

Have you ever wondered just what caused you bad hair day? This is the purpose of ‘Correlational Research’, well not really. It’s not this at all, but we can still benefit from the research. The purpose is to investigate the extent to which variations in one factor of Integrated PM correspond with variations in one or more other project factors based on correlation coefficients.

Examples:

  • A study investigating the relationship between charter existence as the criterion variable and a few of the variables for successful projects.
  • A factor-analytic study of several personality tests of the project manager.
  • A study to predict success in project performance based on intercorrelation patterns for task variables.

Characteristics: Appropriate where variables are very complex and/or do not lend themselves to the experimental method and controlled manipulation. Correlational Research permits the measurement of several variables and their interrelationships simultane¬ously and in a realistic setting. It gets at the degrees of relationship rather than the all-or-nothing question posed by experimental design: "Is an effect present or absent?"

Weakness: Among its limitations are the following:

  • It only identifies what goes with what-it does not necessarily identify cause-and-effect relationships.
  • It is less rigorous than the experimental approach because it exercises less control over the independent variables.
  • It is prone to identify spurious relational patterns or elements which have little or no reliability or validity.
  • The relational patterns are often arbitrary and ambiguous.
  • It encourages a "shot-gun" approach to research, indiscriminately throwing in data from miscellaneous sources and defying any meaningful or useful interpretation.

Steps:

  1. Define the problem.
  2. Review the literature.
  3. Design the approach:
  4. Identify the relevant variables.
  5. Select appropriate subjects.
  6. Select or develop appropriate measuring instruments.
  7. Select the correlational approach that fits the problem.
  8. Collect the data.
  9. Analyze and interpret the results.

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True Experimental Research
Causal - Comparative Research
 

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Wednesday, 22 November 2017
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