vishn010: January 2012 Archives

Chapter 2

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IMAG0097.jpgOne of the main thing this chapter talks about is the importance about research design. If an experiment isn't properly designed and administrated, it may not lead to conclusive and accurate results, and can actually lead to very harmful procedures done to patients. Another thing that this chapter focuses on was the difference between correlation and causation. Two things are correlated if they are related to each other, but causation means that one thing leads to the other. Often times there is a third variable that is unaccounted for which links the two variables together. This is really important to understand when looking at newspaper headlines, as they tend to confuse correlation with causation. You must look at the data they took and make sure they lead to causation results and that the researchers or newspaper editors don't mistake the difference between correlation and causation. This is why you sometimes see crazy headlines that do not always seem to make sense such as "Fear of hell makes us richer, Fed says," and "Eating fish prevents crime." While these items are probably, we must be extremely careful to not assume there is a causation relationship between the two variables.

Example of news story that might lead you to believe in causation rather than correlation

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