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Association and Causation

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Association and Causation

Association is a connection between two social phenomena, demonstrated by onetendingto vary according to variations in the other, whereas causality is a special case of association, when changes in one systematically result in direct changes in the other.

Section Outline: Association and imprecise connections. Example: church-going and age. Association and correlation. Direction of connection: narratives. Spurious relationships. Examples: class and political attitudes; explaining illness. Necessary and sufficient conditions. Causality in quantitative and qualitative methods.

Research provides descriptions of what it studies. Some descriptions connect two social phenomena, making it possible to say that they tend to happen together, or rarely happen together, or that when one comes first, the other usually follows. These connections or ‘relationships’ are referred to as associations. A special kind of ...

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