Hi there! It’s me again! Today, I’ll be writing about my latest Scimatics project, Correlation vs. Causation. In this project, we learned about, well, correlation and causation. The driving question for this project was “How are correlation and causation different?”.
A little disclaimer – I was away for the better portion of this project, so pretty much everything I will be writing about will be from the perspective of myself sitting in front of my iPad in Toronto, rather than in front of a desk at school.
We started out this project by being shown a simple correlation graph. Cheese consumption per capita compared with death by entanglement in bedsheets.
This graph showed us that even if there is correlation, that doesn’t always mean that there is causation. As the cheese consumption per capita went up, so did death by entanglement in bedsheets. This is probably just because the more people that there are, the more cheese will be eaten and the more people will, well, die by entanglement in bedsheets. This could be misconstrued by saying that cheese consumption causes death by entanglement in bedsheets or that death by entanglement in bedsheets causes more cheese consumption, but that can be easily disproved by a little bit of common sense. After we looked at this graph, we made a project-start mind map. Here’s mine, although I did recently answer my questions, due to this blog post marking the end of this assignment:
This was basically when I left, so everything I talk about from here on out will be what I did while I was away.
This project was also (for the most part) a partner project. I was partnered with Julian, who was a very good partner. I’ll link his blog here. Make sure you check it out and hear his perspective on this project!
As I previously stated, I was away at this point, so there was a little bit of communication difficulties between the two of us. This made planning things out a little difficult but we did out best. The first thing that we did while I was away that Julian and I needed to work together on was milestone 3, the survey plan. This milestone was pretty self explanatory. We needed to create a plan for a survey that we would carry out. We would build on this survey throughout the project and it would be what the whole project would centre around. We decided that we would survey people to find out how their general science knowledge correlated with the amount of sci-fi media they consumed.
For milestone 4, we would survey the people and make a graph on their responses, and show how the responses correlated. Here’s our finished graph:
You can see in the graphs that the more general science knowledge people have, the more sci-fi media they tend to consume. There is a causation here as well, since generally, you look for things that you are interested in in the media that you consume, so it only makes sense that science knowledge and interest in science-related topics causes you to consume more sci-fi media. Science knowledge and interest could also be sparked by a love of sci-fi, which presents another possible causation.
During this project, I did my best to stay focused and stay on track of my schoolwork, even with the extra distractions of being away in another city.
I’ve pretty much come to the end of this blog post, which means it’s time for me to answer the driving question, “How are correlation and causation different?”.
In conclusion, correlation shows how factors associate with each other. Causation shows how factors cause and influence each other. Correlation doesn’t necessarily mean that causation is present.
That’s pretty much it! I hope you enjoyed all 648 words of this blog post and I’ll see you on the next one!
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