What combination of personal attributes (that is, enthusiasm, integrity, toughness, confidence, fairness, warmth, humility, and industriousness) best predicts effective leadership or mentorship?
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This is an appropriately stated research question for a correlation study because it seeks to examine the relationship between a large set of independent variables and one dependent variable. More specifically, this research question fits a multiple correlation and regression study whereby several independent variables tend to predict one dependent variable (Mertler & Vannatta, 2005). Here, note that the intention of this study is not to assess causality between the main variables, but it focuses on determining the relationship between the two sets of variables (Jackson, 2012). Therefore, the most appropriate research approach in answering this question entails a non-experimental method aimed at describing the relationship or correlation between the variables. Moreover, the research question is appropriate for a correlational study because it will be impractical for the researchers to manipulate some of the stated variables to draw causal relations from one variable to the other (Jackson, 2012).
From the research question, it is apparent that the main variables are personal attributes (that is, enthusiasm, integrity, toughness, confidence, fairness, warmth, humility, and industriousness), which are the independent variables and effective leadership or mentorship, which is the dependent variable. The independent variables are categorical because they involve the description of some quality and not quantitative or numerical attributes. Accordingly, the scale of measurement for the independent variables is ordinal considering that different categories of the variables provide data that can be ordered in a meaningful manner. Similarly, the dependent variable is a categorical variable since it does not require numerical data to describe its value. Moreover, categories of the dependent variable are best described using ordinal data (Mertler & Vannatta, 2005).
The two variables in this study fit the qualifications of a correctional study due to several reasons. First, there are several independent variables, which tend to predict the levels of one dependent variable. In such a case, it might be difficult for one to conduct an experimental study to examine the relationship between the two sets of variables, and thus, it is fit to conduct correlational research. Secondly, it is impractical to influence either of the variables to measure the relations between them, but a simple correlation study achieves to demonstrate the relationship between the variables. Thirdly, the interpretation of data collected from studying the two sets of variables takes place under causal terms about existing theories, and thus, it is difficult to predict causality. Lastly, it is impossible to tell from the research question whether other factors are contributing to the relationship between the two sets of variables, meaning that a causal relationship may not be inferred, but it is sufficient to just describe the relationship (Jackson, 2012; Mertler & Vannatta, 2005).
Based on the research question, there seems to be a positive correlation between the personal attributes of a leader or mentor and effective leadership or mentorship. More specifically, as the level of personal attributes (that is, enthusiasm, integrity, toughness, confidence, fairness, warmth, humility, and industriousness) of a leader increases so does the level of effective leadership. Therefore, if this correlation is significant, it can be predicted that the stated personal attributes of a leader tend to predict effective leadership. This implies that the existence of the stated personal attributes at high levels tends to predict the presence of effective leadership at equally high levels. However, it is difficult to predict whether the stated personal attributes have a causal effect on effective leadership because the research question does not intend to prove causality (Jackson, 2012).
Jackson, S. L. (2012). Research methods and statistics: A critical thinking approach (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
Mertler, C. A., & Vannatta, R. A. (2005). Advanced and multivariate statistical methods: Practical application and interpretation (3rd ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Pyrczak.