There are a number of quantitative research designs. The longitudinal design is a form of observational research technique that involves studying a group of individuals for an extended period. Correlational studies assess the relationships between variables. This paper aims at comparing two psychological research studies that used different research designs; Williams, K. E., Ciarrochi, J., & Heaven, P. C. L. (2012). Inflexible Parents, Inflexible Kids: A 6- Year Longitudinal Study of Parenting Style and the Development of Psychological Flexibility in Adolescents. J Youth Adolescence, 41: 1053- 1066 (study 1) and Hughes, L. W. (2008). A Correlational Study of the Relationship Between Sense of Humor and Positive Psychological Capacities. Economics & Business Journal: Inquiries & Perspectives, 1(1): 1- 10 (study 2).
Study1 involved examining the longitudinal relationships between psychological flexibility and perceived parenting style among students from 5 schools in Australia beginning from Grade 7. The study took 6 years. The parenting styles were measured in Grades 12 and 5 and psychological flexibility from the ninth through the twelfth grade (Williams, Ciarrochi & Heaven, 2012).
In study 2, there was a cross-sectional survey that was aimed at assessing the statistical link between humor and PsyCap and their dimensions. There was administration of surveys to 92 participants from a huge employers’ cross-section (Hughes, 2008).
In study 1, the participants were students and drawn from five high schools from Australia’s Catholic Diocese of New South Wales. At the start of the study, there were 749 students aged between 11 and 14 years. Students were invited so that they could participate in a ‘Youth Issues’ survey and consent was required from parents, schools, and students during every year of study (Williams, Ciarrochi & Heaven, 2012).
In study 2, while there was a presentation to western US’s small business leaders, the author requested if he could access their places of work so as to collect survey response data. 17 sites heeded to the request. The work contexts included hospitality, heath care, and service providers. 92 people responded to this opportunity but only 87 completed the surveys fully (Hughes, 2008).
Comparison of designs
Some of the methods used in correlational studies are the archival research, survey method, and naturalistic observation while in longitudinal research, there is panel, cohort, and retrospective study. Longitudinal research is ideal for studying lifespan and development issues.
Strengths and weaknesses
The correlational study design was strong in that the methods of data collection enabled the researchers to gather huge data amounts in a short period. However, although such a study suggests that there is a link between the variables, there is no prove that one variable is responsible for the change in the other.
The longitudinal study allowed for the analysis of changes over time. However, there is a need for more resources (funds and time).
Although correlational studies are vital in quantitative studies, there is no exact distinction of a relationship as the coefficients range from +1.00 to -1.00. On the other hand, data may be collected repeatedly in longitudinal studies and may last for several decades.
Socio-cultural, legal, and ethical considerations
In study 1, consent was sought from the relevant parties before conducting the study (parents, students, and schools). On the same note, the questionnaires and study methods used during the study had to be approved by the Catholic Schools Authority and the university ethics committee (Williams, Ciarrochi & Heaven, 2012). Researchers administered the questionnaires in every school and students completed them without any discussions while under the supervision of a teacher or a researcher. This was followed by a full debriefing and a unique code was used for every student. Data was also de-identified for confidentiality.
In study 2, the author made an effort to meet with members from the different workplaces so as to elaborate the study’s purpose (Hughes, 2008). The participants were however not aware of the hypothesis. Those who were interested continued with the survey.
Longitudinal studies offer quality data and are, therefore, more valuable as opposed to correlational researches.
Hughes, L. W. (2008). A Correlational Study of the Relationship Between Sense of Humor and Positive Psychological Capacities. Economics & Business Journal: Inquiries & Perspectives, 1(1): 1- 10.
Williams, K. E., Ciarrochi, J., & Heaven, P. C. L. (2012). Inflexible Parents, Inflexible Kids: A 6- Year Longitudinal Study of Parenting Style and the Development of Psychological Flexibility in Adolescents. J Youth Adolescence, 41: 1053- 1066.