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Quantitative Research Design: Neuroscience Studies Essay

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Table of Contents
Studies’ Description and Design
Design Appropriateness
Choosing an Inappropriate Design
Conclusion
References

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Research topics can be analyzed using different methods which can be separated into two major categories – qualitative and quantitative. Studies that use a quantitative approach rely on calculations to prove or disprove a proposed hypothesis. Thus, the choice to apply this methodology for a topic has to be founded on the necessity to show specific numbers and their correlation. On the other hand, if the chosen approach does not fit the study, some adverse outcomes may follow. The discussed studies investigate the topic of anxiety in children. The first article deals with concentrations of plasma oxytocin and cerebrospinal fluid and their connection to children’s anxiety levels. The second one explores the correlation among attention, behavioral inhibition, and social anxiety. Both studies employ a specific quantitative methodology. The appropriateness of these strategies and ramifications that may occur if a wrong design is chosen are discussed further.

Studies’ Description and Design

The first study by Carson et al. (2015) is called “Cerebrospinal Fluid and Plasma Oxytocin Concentrations Are Positively Correlated and Negatively Predict Anxiety in Children.” The authors investigate multiple correlations between these fluids and children’s anxiety. They also attempt to show that concentration levels can predict whether a child will develop anxiety in the future. This study uses a correlational design because it explores a connection between two variables. Moreover, as the scholars aim to foresee possible effects that one variable can have on another, the research can be considered a predictive correlational study. The measurements were taken on one occasion, making the design cross-sectional.

The second article by Thai, Taber-Thomas, and Pérez-Edgar (2016) is called “Neural Correlates of Attention Biases, Behavioral Inhibition, and Social Anxiety in Children: An ERP Study.” In it, Thai et al. (2016) explore the link between attention biases, BI (behavioral inhibition), and children’s development of social anxiety. They use an approach similar to the previous authors, collecting measures on a single occasion, comparing variables, and searching for a connection among multiple factors. Therefore, this is a cross-sectional predictive correlational study as well.

Design Appropriateness

The two studies utilize the chosen design appropriately. First of all, they are both interested in finding a specific correlation between identified variables. The nature of their research asks for a quantitative approach to visualize the relationship. Moreover, the variables chosen by the scholars are quantifiable. The concentration of plasma oxytocin and cerebrospinal fluid in the first study can be measured and connected to children’s anxiety. Similarly, behavioral inhibition can be assessed with the help of ERP (event-related potential) – a response measured by EEG (Thai et al., 2016). Therefore, the chosen method supports the validity of both researches, because all variables are not abstract but are proven to be quantifiable (Polit & Beck, 2017). An appropriate study design also excludes bias. Here, the taken measurements rely on actual data and children’s evaluation and not on obscure principles, making the studies unbiased and credible.

Choosing an Inappropriate Design

If scholars select a design that does not fit their research problem, they may encounter many issues. First of all, it can be hard for them to collect information that may be necessary for their investigation. Moreover, the calculations or the analysis of gathered data can be full of mistakes. Most importantly, such studies can come to an erroneous conclusion, show a biased perspective, or present an outcome that is impossible to recreate. Thus, such works can be deemed unreliable or invalid. A problem may also arise if one takes such studies as a foundation for further research.

Conclusion

Research has to have an appropriate design to be reliable, confirmable, and valid. The two presented quantitative studies have a correlational design, where authors attempt to find a connection between multiple variables. In both articles, scholars succeed in utilizing the chosen method, which results in useful findings. If they were to choose inappropriately, such articles could come to different conclusions that would be biased, baseless, and unreliable.

References

Carson, D. S., Berquist, S. W., Trujillo, T. H., Garner, J. P., Hannah, S. L., Hyde, S. A.,… Parker, K. J. (2015). Cerebrospinal fluid and plasma oxytocin concentrations are positively correlated and negatively predict anxiety in children. Molecular Psychiatry, 20(9), 1085-1090. Web.

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Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

Thai, N., Taber-Thomas, B. C., & Pérez-Edgar, K. E. (2016). Neural correlates of attention biases, behavioral inhibition, and social anxiety in children: An ERP study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 200-210. Web.

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