CORRELATION STUDIES IN EDUCATION

ABSTRACT This paper reviewed importance of correlation studies in educational research. The paper concluded that correlation is used to find relationship between variables, determined degree of association etc. and recommendation was made at the end of the paper. INTRODUCTION Correlational study is very important in research. This is obvious in the ways it has been used in researches today in sciences, education, engineering etc. correlational study is used to find relationships between variables, degree of relationships, association among parameters, existing influences between variables, determine the degree of freedom, variability in performance, strength of variations in strength of relationships. The correlation is one of the most common and most useful statistics. A correlation is a single number that describes the degree of relationship between two variables. IMPORTANCE OF CORRELATION Darko and Ansa-Asare (2009) cited the use of correlation to establish relationships and interactions between parameters. Correlation does not only used to find out relationship that exists between variables, it can also be used to determine the degree of relationships and variability between students’ performance in examination as opined by Oluwatayo (2007). Abe (2007) confirmed that correlation can be used to determine the strength of relationship between subjects and variations in strength of relationships of scores in subjects. Correlation is a good instrument to be used to analyse relationship between performances of students as observed by Ige (2007). Boampong, Acquah and Achiamaa (2009) used correlation to assess linear association among studied quantitative parameters. Boampong, Acqua, Sam-Awortwi and Ofori (2010) stated that correlation could be used to test for association among measured parameters. Correlation allows the researcher to investigate naturally occurring variables that maybe unethical or impractical to test experimentally. For example, it would be unethical to conduct an experiment on whether smoking causes lung cancer. Mcleod (2008) opined that correlation identifies variables and looks for a relationship between them. Correlation allows the researcher to clearly and easily see if there is a relationship between variables. This can then be displayed in a graphical form. The correlation is one of the most common and most useful statistics. He stressed further that correlation is a single number that describes the degree of relationship between two variables. Lanthier (2011) looked at correlation as a way to measure how associated or related two variables are. She explains further that in a correlational study, the researcher is measuring conditions that already exist and finding out in what way pairs of variables are related. Lanthier (2011) opined that the researcher looks at things that already exist and determines if and in what way those things are related to each other and that, purpose of doing correlations is to allow us to make a prediction about one variable based on what we know about another variable. She believed when we know there is a correlation between two variables, we can make a prediction. We can make predictions about things when we know about correlations. If two variables are correlated, we can predict one based on the other. Mcleod (2008) observed that an important area where correlation is widely used is in the study of intelligence where research has been carried out to test the strength of the association between the I.Q. levels of identical and non-identical twins. Correlation research is a form of analysis in which you correlate one variable with another to determine if there is a relationship between them. It is used as a first step prior to experimentation, when experiments cannot be conducted (for ethical or practical reasons). In correlation research you do not manipulate a variable, you gather information through: Observation, Surveys or Questionnaires, and Information Correlation is concerned with describing the degree of relationship between variables. Researchers can use one variable to make predictions about another variable, that correlation can be used to find interrelation between variables. Minium, King & Bear (1993) posited that correlation can be used mainly to determine the degree of association between variables, and also to make prediction about an event. To establish reliability of a test, for example, we would want to know the extent of initial performance on the same test at a subsequent time. Minium et al (1993) opined that correlation is used in determining the degree of association between two variables and predicting a person’s standing in associated variable. John and Arthur (1991) viewed that when two variables are examined for their correlation; it is usually for the purpose of predicting one of them. Most correlation studies are initiated based on the desire to examine and explain the changing value of this variable. Horst (1963) said correlation measures the co variation in the magnitude of two things. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION Correlation is very important in educational research as it could be used to find out relationship between variables, determine degree of association, for prediction about one variable and strength of a relationship. Having reviewed role of correlation in educational research it is therefore suggested that institutions of learning should design a course especially for correlation study. This will help students to apply correlation statistics correctly in research.

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