# The Correlational Method explain the correlational method Instructions below: ORIGINAL AUTHOR’S THOUGHTS The correlational method can be very useful, but

explain the correlational method

Instructions below:

ORIGINAL AUTHOR’S THOUGHTS

The correlational method can be very useful, but it must be used with caution. If knowledge of one variable (age) helps predict another (buying), does that mean that one causes the other? Not necessarily. It is possible that the first variable caused the second, or that the second variable caused the first, or that some other variable caused both variables. Without further research we cannot know which possibility is true. For example, a researcher might find a negative correlation in schools between the number of teachers monitoring hallway behavior and the number of acts of aggression in the hallway. It is possible that more teachers in the hallway caused lower aggression, but it is also possible that there were fewer teachers in the hallway in the face of aggression because they had left to avoid it. Knowing that there is a correlation between two events does not tell us which, if either, is the cause. In fact, it is quite common to have a third variable cause a correlation between two other variables. For example, sunburn and outdoor temperature are correlated. Does this mean that hot weather causes sunburn or that sunburn causes hot weather? Of course not. The summer sun causes both sunburn and hot weather. Cum hoc propter hoc—correlation does not imply causation.

Reference

Feenstra, J. (2020). Social psychology (2nd ed.). Zovio.

REWRITE BY SOMEONE WANTING TO WRITE ABOUT THE ARTICLE AND ITS FINDINGS

“The correlational method can be very useful, but it must be used with caution.” If knowledge of one variable (height) helps predict another (weight), does that mean that one causes the other? Not necessarily. It is possible that the primary variable caused the secondary, or that the secondary variable caused the primary, or that some additional variable caused both variables. We cannot understand what chance is true without further studies. For example, ice cream consumption and violent crime are correlated. Does this mean eating ice cream causes violent crime? Or, does a spike in violent crime cause consumption of ice cream? Probably neither… rather, a common factor (e.g., heat) may be to blame for both. “Cum hoc propter hoc—correlation does not imply causation.”

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