Difference between revisions of "Correlation"

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(better to start over - this has distractions and propaganda)
(There's a right way and a wrong way to do this - see also right and wrong, a subject no longer taught in public school)
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'''Correlation''' refers to how a characteristic is common to a group, as in the '''correlation''' between hard work and success.
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'''Correlation''' refers to how a characteristic is common to a group, as in the '''correlation''' between hard work and success.
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Correlation is the mainstay of engineering and science. It is used to determine the relationships between factors (see [[cause and effect]]).
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When one factor changes, and another factor changes along with it, there is usually a direct relationship. Alternatively, both could be caused by a third factor; for example, two prices of unrelated goods increasing during a period of [[inflation]] (see also [[correlation is not causation]]).
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Once a correlation is established, scientists conduct research to determine causation. Are respiration deaths causing air pollution, or is it the other way around? It is easy to determine that sickness among the elderly does not cause air pollution. Rather, it is chemicals like sulfur dioxide (typically from coal burning [[power plant]]s) which are the culprit. Cities and states measure the amount of pollutants in the air, and compare this to the number of people who develop respiratory diseases.
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Regulations which restrict air pollution are made on the basis of these correlations, and on the cause and effect relationships which the correlations help scientists to discover. However, activists have sometimes created false correlations by selective use of data. [http://www.robinsoncurriculum.com/view/rc/s31p59.htm]
  
 
[[Category:statistics]]
 
[[Category:statistics]]

Revision as of 08:44, 3 January 2009

Correlation refers to how a characteristic is common to a group, as in the correlation between hard work and success. Correlation is the mainstay of engineering and science. It is used to determine the relationships between factors (see cause and effect).

When one factor changes, and another factor changes along with it, there is usually a direct relationship. Alternatively, both could be caused by a third factor; for example, two prices of unrelated goods increasing during a period of inflation (see also correlation is not causation).

Once a correlation is established, scientists conduct research to determine causation. Are respiration deaths causing air pollution, or is it the other way around? It is easy to determine that sickness among the elderly does not cause air pollution. Rather, it is chemicals like sulfur dioxide (typically from coal burning power plants) which are the culprit. Cities and states measure the amount of pollutants in the air, and compare this to the number of people who develop respiratory diseases.

Regulations which restrict air pollution are made on the basis of these correlations, and on the cause and effect relationships which the correlations help scientists to discover. However, activists have sometimes created false correlations by selective use of data. [1]