Correlational Research






Correlational Research

Although correlational research has been used over time as one of the most important methods qualitative research, it is in most instances compounded by certain shortcomings that undermine the credibility and validity of the results that are attained. For this reason, researchers or investigators using this type of research need to exercise a high degree of cautiousness in a bid to enhance the credibility of their results. This is particularly so because in the psychological field, the relative researches have far reaching implications on the wellbeing f the society. Besides being employed in policy formulation and enforcement, the respective findings inform critical decision making. It is against this background that this paper explores important confounds in Tomasello’s Culture and Cognitive Development and Gauvain’s Cognitive Development in Social and Cultural Context. It then proceeds to determining whether the respective investigators have acknowledged the inherent inconsistencies in their researches. Finally, it describes a research design that could be useful for clarifying the results of the respective correlational research.

Typically, correlational research does not establish direct and distinctive social relationships between the factors under examination. It this respect, it becomes difficult to make credible inferences accordingly. In his study, Gauvain (1998) argues that culture plays an imperative role in cognitive development. The author attributes the organization and development of cognitive development to three main factors that include cultural values and activity goals, the material as well as symbolic tools that are useful for satisfying cultural values and goals and the higher level structures that are useful for instantiating the cultural values and goals of daily practices. The shortcoming of this study is its failure to appreciate the individual capacities that greatly influence cognitive development. In this respect, it is worth appreciating that culture is a very complex and dynamic social aspect that can not be explored from a single distinct point of view. This is further compounded by the fact that it is dynamic and influences the biological wellbeing of an individual.

Gauvain (1998) acknowledges that personal abilities and skills that emerge and are displayed in various social environments have not been accounted for. He suggests that future studies need to focus on this aspect in order to make the study complete. This is due to the fact that the individual is at the center stage of both the culture and cognitive development. An ideal research design in this regard could have focused on the employment of multiple regressions. This entails use of multiple factors to accredit the respective relationship.

Tomasello (2000) on the other hand explores the relationship between culture and cognitive development. Through culture, he indicates that humans are able to develop their cognitive ability and foster revolution. Children in this regard are presented as having the ability to learn through adults as opposed to from adults. Likewise, this study is limited by the cat that it does not put in consideration various social and biological factors that foster the cognitive development. This is regardless of the fact that the author underscores that in certain situations, the learning does not occur through imitation. Besides the biological evolution and cultural processes, it should be acknowledged that environmental factors also contribute significantly to the process of learning. In essence, cognitive development is a complex process that is necessitated by various factors that share intricate and augmenting relationships. Tomasello (2000) inconclusively and indirectly mentions this concern but does not directly address it at the end of the study. He makes the mistakes of concluding that there is indeed a relationship between cognitive development and the biological and relative cultural factors.

An ideal design in this regard needs to have addressed the issue of the common causal variable that is also referred to as the third variable. Basically, this constitutes a variable that is not a part of the research but which is instrumental in establishing a relationship between the outcome and predictors. In light of this study, this can be represented by the environmental factors that are imperative in this particular study. This would have gone a long way in bridging the inherent gaps and accrediting the study accordingly.

In sum, although correlational studies have been employed for a significant period of time, they have certain inconsistencies that have the ability to undermine the validity as well as credibility of the respective research. As it has come out from the preceding analysis, the two studies have certain inconsistencies that need to be addressed accordingly. The first study fails to provide a credible explanation for other cognitive representations that are exhibited by learners. He however acknowledges this shortcoming and recommends future studies to focus on this. An ideal design for it would have been employment of multiple regressions to explain his research topic. The second study fails to underscore the role of environmental factors that directly affect cognitive development. The author does not hover acknowledge this shortcoming. An ideal design in this respect would have considered the role of a third variable.


Gauvain, M. (1998). Cognitive development in social and cultural context. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7, 188-192.

Tomasello, M. (2000). Culture and cognitive development. Current Directions in psychological Science, 9, 37-40.