Week 4: Correlation

This week’s “Word of the Week” is correlation. According to The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, correlation is a noun that means “a relation existing between phenomena or things or between mathematical or statistical variables which tend to vary, be associated, or occur together in a way not expected on the basis of chance alone.”  In other words, correlation means that some “co-relation” is present.  If two items are correlated, some relationship exists between them.

Generally, you should use correlation only when referencing statistical data. Furthermore, remember that correlation is not synonymous with causation.  Two events can occur at the same time or be related without one’s having caused the other.

Below are some examples of sentences from recent news articles that use the word correlation.

A report by Goldman Sachs last week noted that the correlation of US banks with European banks has increased dramatically in recent months. http://seekingalpha.com/article/297369-correlations-between-u-s-and-european-banks-rising-dramatically-goldman-sachs

UW study finds correlation between Facebook posts, students’ alcohol abuse http://www.dailycardinal.com/news/uw-study-finds-correlation-between-facebook-posts-students-alcohol-abuse-1.2626115#.Tos38f4k6so

If I plug the obesity rates for the ten largest states into an online correlation calculator, I get an amazing -0.843 correlation between obesity rates and personal indebtedness. http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/10/02/the-negative-correlation-between-obesity-and-indebtedness/

In a recent study, Natural Insight, a retail technology company engaged in workforce management, revealed a startling correlation between the over-reporting of worker mileage in expense reports with the rising cost of gasoline. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/study-reveals-increased-gas-cost-drives-workers-to-over-report-mileage-2011-10-04

There exists a correlation between an individual’s belief in God and his or her cognitive style, suggests a study by Harvard researchers published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General on Monday. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2011/9/22/style-god-study-cognitive/

There is no correlation between a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth and the real returns of its stock market, according to Vanguard chief investment officer Gus Sauter. http://www.moneymanagement.com.au/news/economic-growth-not-linked-to-equity-returns–vang

Hair Loss-Divorce Correlation: Study Suggests Splits Cause Hair Loss In Women http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/divorce-causes-hair-loss-_n_974544.html

For more information on the word correlation, please visit the following Web sites:
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/correlation
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/correlation

Works Cited:
“Correlation.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 11th Ed., 2004. Print.

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