10th International
Conference on
Teaching Statistics
8 – 13 July 2018
Kyoto, Japan
Contributed paper list

Contributed Paper C282


Practical use of correlation coefficients in the Social Sciences


Oscar Hernandez (Costa Rica)
Russell Alpizar-Jara (Portugal)


Oscar Hernandez (Costa Rica)


The Pearson correlation coefficient (r) is usually the first measure of association taught at elementary statistics courses. The usual presentation includes scatterplots, computation and interpretation of r, properties, examples, and warnings about inferring causality from high association between two variables. On this last aspect, few introductory textbooks go deeper into the criteria for establishing causation. Although some textbooks give adequate explanations, most of their examples belong to the field of Biostatistics. For teaching statistics in the Social Sciences there is a lack of convincing examples belonging to this area. In this paper we urge the need to incorporate convincing cases of the practical use of correlation coefficients and contribute with some of our own.