What is causal research?
To answer our question, we’ll review the purpose of causal research, how to implement it in your research projects, and some great examples of how organizations are currently using causal research to make better business decisions.
Causal research falls under the category of conclusive research, because of its attempt to reveal a cause-and-effect relationship between two variables. Like descriptive research, this form of research attempts to prove an idea put forward by an individual or organization. However, it significantly differs on both its methods and its purpose. Where descriptive research is broad in scope, attempting to better define any opinion, attitude, or behavior held by a particular group, causal research will have only two objectives:
These objectives are what makes causal research more scientific than its exploratory and descriptive counter parts. In order to meet these objectives, causal researchers have to isolate the particular variable they believe is responsible for something taking place, and measure its true significance. With this information, an organization can confidently decide whether it is worth the resources to use a variable, like adding better traffic signs, or attempt to eliminate a variable, like road rage.
Causal research should be looked at as experimental research. Remember, the goal of this research is to prove a cause and effect relationship. With this in mind, it becomes very important to have strictly planned parameters and objectives. Without a complete understanding of your research plan and what you are trying to prove, your findings can become unreliable and have high amounts of researcher bias. Try using exploratory research or descriptive research as a tool to base your research plan on.
Once your research plan and objectives are fleshed out, it’s time to set up your causal experiment properly. Here are three major conditions about your causal experiment you’ll want to check off before you set it into motion:
It really doesn’t matter what type of organization you are or what goals you have, causal research can be used to benefit you. The goal of causal research is to give proof that a particular relationship exists. From a company standpoint, if you want to verify that a strategy will work or be confident when identifying sources of an issue, causal research is the way to go. Let’s take a look at a few examples of how causal research could be implemented with different goals in mind:
With your newfound knowledge of causal research, you’ll be able to create more effective research plans that take advantage of any business opportunity.