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Spurious Correlations

# Spurious Correlations - relationship 1 Temporal order The...

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Spurious Correlations A spurious correlation is one where the apparent correlation between two variables is actually caused by a third variable (Henslin, 1999:130) Causal Logic (Cause and Effect) One of the most common research mistakes is to assume that a high correlation between two variables proves that there is a causal link between them. In other words, people assume if two variables are related, then obviously one causes the other. Causality is rather difficult to demonstrate. How can one tell whether a change in one variable is "causing" a change in another variable? There are three requirements that must exist before one can begin to think about whether there is a cause and effect
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Unformatted text preview: relationship. 1. Temporal order : The independent variable has to occur before the dependent variable. 2. Association (or correlation) : A change in one variable is associated with a change in the other variable. 3. Elimination of plausible alternatives : The researcher has to ensure that the association between the two variables is not caused by a third variable (e.g., there are no spurious correlations). In order to show that one variable cause a change in another variable the scientist has to control for other factors that might be influencing the relationship...
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