Importance and use of correlational research
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Importance and use of correlational research

Elizabeth A Curtis Assistant professor, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Catherine Comiskey Head of school and professor of healthcare statistics, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Orla Dempsey Adjunct quantitative healthcare lead, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

Background The importance of correlational research has been reported in the literature yet few research texts discuss design in any detail.

Aim To discuss important issues and considerations in correlational research, and suggest ways to avert potential problems during the preparation and application of the design.

Discussion: This article targets the gap identified in the literature regarding correlational research design. Specifically, it discusses the importance and purpose of correlational research, its application, analysis and interpretation with contextualisations to nursing and health research.

Conclusion: Findings from correlational research can be used to determine prevalence and relationships among variables, and to forecast events from current data and knowledge. In spite of its many uses, prudence is required when using the methodology and analysing data. To assist researchers in reducing mistakes, important issues are singled out for discussion and several options put forward for analysing data.

Implications for practice Correlational research is widely used and this paper should be particularly useful for novice nurse researchers. Furthermore, findings generated from correlational research can be used, for example, to inform decision-making, and to improve or initiate health-related activities or change.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 6, 20-25. doi: 10.7748/nr.2016.e1382

Correspondence

curtise@tcd.ie

Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 16 March 2015

Accepted: 11 November 2015

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